Trump Getting Ready To Blame Others For Anticipated GOP Losses

Faced with the probability of losses today, President Trump is already getting ready to blame everyone but himself.

With most projections showing that Republicans will at least lose control of the House of Representatives and several Governor’s Mansions, and could conceivably also lose control of the Senate, President Trump is already laying the groundwork for finding someone to blame for the losses other than himself:

President Donald Trump on Monday pre-emptively spread around blame for the results of Tuesday’s midterms elections, accusing CNN of peddling “fake suppression polls” and floating the prospect of widespread fraudulent voting.

“So funny to see the CNN Fake Suppression Polls and false rhetoric. Watch for real results Tuesday,” the president tweeted. “We are lucky CNN’s ratings are so low. Don’t fall for the Suppression Game. Go out & VOTE. Remember, we now have perhaps the greatest Economy (JOBS) in the history of our Country!”

CNN on Monday released a poll in which Democrats are leading Republicans, 55 percent to 42 percent, in the generic congressional ballot among likely voters. The poll was conducted by SSRS from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3 with a random national sample of 1,518 adults. The respondents were reached by landline or cellphone, and the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

While it is widely believed that Democrats have a strong chance of taking back the House, a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Monday showed a much slimmer margin. Forty-three percent of registered voters would vote for the Democratic congressional candidate, whereas 40 percent said they would vote for the Republican candidate, the poll found. In addition, 18 percent are undecided

Here’s the Presidential Tweet in question:

Trump also returned to a familiar topic, and one that he and his supporters may bring up in the event of losses today:

The President has made claims about so-called “illegal voting” in the past, of course. Even after winning the election two years ago, he claimed that so-called illegal voting was the reason why his Electoral College win over Hillary Clinton wasn’t larger, and largely the reason why Clinton won the Popular Vote while losing in the Electoral College. There was, of course, no evidence whatsoever to support this claim. When he became President, Trump established a commission to investigate “voter fraud” that seemed principally obsessed with proving this claim, but the commission shut down without ever coming close to finding even a scintilla of evidence to prove the President’s claim. Notwithstanding that fact, both Trump and many of his supporters have continued to claim that illegal voting cut into his margin of victory and that the caravan of migrants making its way through Mexico is somehow connected to Democratic efforts to “steal” the midterm elections.

In addition to the President’s tweet, Attorney General Jeff Sessions also joined in on the “illegal voting” bandwagon:

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday issued strong warnings about the threat of voter fraud in Tuesday’s elections, echoing the president’s baseless claims that massive voter fraud marred his 2016 election and prompting accusations that his administration is trying to intimidate voters.

In a tweet early Monday, Trump said that law enforcement has been “strongly notified” to watch for “ILLEGAL VOTING.” He promised that anyone caught voting improperly would be subjected to “Maximum Criminal Penalties.” Sessions, in a statement laying out the Justice Department’s plans to monitor ballot access on Election Day, said “fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated. Fraud also corrupts the integrity of the ballot.”

In remarks to reporters on his way to a campaign rally in Cleveland, Trump also falsely claimed that voter fraud is commonplace.

“Just take a look,” he said. “All you have to do is go around, take a look at what’s happened over the years, and you’ll see. There are a lot of people — a lot of people — my opinion, and based on proof — that try and get in illegally and actually vote illegally. So we just want to let them know that there will be prosecutions at the highest level.”

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States. Trump formed a commission to study the issue shortly after he took office that was disbanded without finding evidence of fraud after states refused to turn over voter data.

Voting rights advocates denounced Trump’s remarks as a blatant attempt to intimidate voters on the eve of Election Day — and part of a pattern among Republicans, they said, to curtail voting access with strict rules that disproportionately affect voters of color who tend to vote Democratic.

“I find this kind of conduct incredibly anti-patriotic,” said Kristen Clarke, who leads the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a voting rights group that has successfully challenged several new voting restrictions across the country this year. “At a time when we need our White House and Justice Department speaking out against the relentless campaign of voter suppression in this election cycle, it defies reason.”

Accusations of voter fraud and voter suppression have roared to the forefront in several closely contested races this year, raising the possibility of recounts and disputed results among dozens of races for House, Senate and governor.

Anticipating possible problems at the polls, political parties, interest groups and voting rights organizations have organized “war rooms” to watch Tuesday’s elections unfold and recruited thousands of volunteer lawyers to monitor precincts across the country. In his statement, Sessions said the Justice Department will follow its usual protocol of sending monitors across the country to protect against voter suppression, intimidation and discrimination; this year, staff will travel to 35 jurisdictions in 19 states to monitor compliance with voting laws.

In past years, Justice Department officials have not listed voter fraud as a top concern when announcing the deployment of election monitors, as Sessions did Monday.

“It’s indicative of a pattern with this administration,” said David Vance, a spokesman for Common Cause, a civil rights group that helped recruit 6,500 volunteers to monitor polling locations across the country Tuesday. “It’s an effort to intimidate voters and keep them away from the polls and try to dictate which voters will turn out and which voters won’t. It flies in the face of what the DOJ has done traditionally to protect voters.”

Leaving aside the largely non-existent issue of voter fraud, the broader issue here is the fact that it seems clear that the President will likely seek to find someone or something else to blame in the event that his party suffers huge losses today. Of course, he has been laying the groundwork for this for a while now even as he has traveled the country telling his supporters that their vote on the midterm elections was, effectively a vote for him. In other remarks to the press back in Washington, though, the President has been openly suggesting that losses in the House or the Senate will be the blame of the Republican leaders in those bodies. This is a rather bizarre claim to make, of course, given the fact that it is the President that has sought for the past several months to nationalize these elections and, as noted, to make the midterms a referendum on his Presidency.

This contrasts markedly, of course, with how previous Presidents handled midterm losses. When Democrats lost 60 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate in 2010, for example, President Obama admitted that his party took a ‘shellacking,’ and that in at least some sense the outcome was a referendum on the first two years of his Presidency. Other Presidents who have seen large midterm losses, such as President Bush in 2006, President Clinton in 1994, and President Reagan in 1982 and 1986. Not this President. For this President, everything that goes right is because of his magic touch, and everything that goes wrong is due either to conspiratorial outside forces such as so-called “voter fraud” or basically just anyone other than himself.

The reality, of course, is that these elections are in fact a referendum on the Trump Presidency to date, and polling has shown that both Democrats and Republicans who either have voted early or will be voting today are most strongly motivated by the President and his agenda. For Democrats and Independents who say that they are leaning toward or will most definitely vote for a Democratic candidate, sending a message to the President and the GOP is cited as one of the top reasons motivating their decisions of who they’ll be voting for. This, of course, is usually how midterms go, especially the first midterm in a Presidency. Like it or not, what happens today will be a referendum on the Trump Presidency. The question is whether he’ll get the message, and whether he’ll bother to change anything in response.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2018, Congress, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Let’s see… Yep. Water is still wet. The sun is still hot. Dogs still bark and cats still meow. And trump still takes credit for successes he had nothing to do with and blames others for everything that goes wrong in his term. Hell’s bells, he takes credit for successes that haven’t happened (and never will) and blames others for wholly fictional disasters that exist only in his head.

    The question is whether he’ll get the message, and whether he’ll bother to change anything in response.

    Ummmm, No. and No.

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  2. CSK says:

    When you’re incapable of taking the blame–when what happens is always someone else’s fault–you have no incentive to change.

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  3. Kathy says:

    The Onion but not The Onion. That’s the age of Cheeto Dennison.

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  4. grumpy realist says:

    One of my friends posting from upstate NY is reporting 125 people in the line to vote this morning, as opposed to the usual 60. I voted some time ago early voting and was quite surprised at the crowd of people in line. So I suspect we’re going to see a big turnout, one way or the other.

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  5. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. OT but here’s your recent Brexit report: nothing has changed and contrary to hopeful noises from a bunch of newspapers, it still looks like the U.K. is going to crash out of the EU with little to no preparation. Bluffing–which seems to be the default English strategy no matter what–doesn’t always work, guys. Nor can you assume that that is what the other side is in fact doing.

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  6. JohnMcC says:

    @grumpy realist: Ah, the dream of a single Irish nation inhabiting the entire island grows closer and closer. UP THE ‘RA!

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  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I know facts have no place in Dennison’s world…but the GOP was begging him to run on the economy…he’s the one that chose to divide. He’s the one that chose to make the race about him and his smaller-than-average mushroom dick. If Republicans lose this is all on him.

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  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    BTW…with Hannity and Pirro joining Dennison on stage and campaigning for him…can we officially name Fox “State Media” now? TASS had nothing on them.

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  9. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Upstate NY is still pretty Republican, isn’t it? Columbia and Dutchess Counties are blue, but that’s because so many publishing, media, and entertainment people live there now.

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  10. reid says:

    @CSK: Hey, I grew up in Columbia county! Small world. The locals would call the people you mentioned “those city folk”, I suspect. My mother who still lives there is, sadly, a Republican and a Trump supporter, though not a fervent one.

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  11. James Pearce says:

    Illegal voting? WTF.

    He’s obviously been listening to all the voter suppression dreck. Why does this intimidation keep working? Tell me, oh wise ones.

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  12. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    If Republicans lose this is all on him.

    I’m going to blame James Pearce for any and all GOP losses 🙂

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  13. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:

    He’s obviously been listening to all the voter suppression dreck.

    Right man, I know. Because voting suppression absolutely never happens. Like I’m sure that there’s a reason why a voting location was closed at the last minute because the building was foreclosed on overnight.

    https://twitter.com/cbsnewspath/status/1059832292481425410

    Nothing to see here people… move on!

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  14. James Pearce says:

    @Kathy: You should. I did what I had to do to vote, and I didn’t vote for any Republicans. Can every Democrat say that?

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  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @reid:..My mother who still lives there is, sadly, a Republican and a Trump supporter, though not a fervent one.

    I know it’s your mama and you want to cover for her but as any practicing OB/GYN will tell you: “you can’t be just a little bit pregnant”

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  16. CSK says:

    @reid:

    The great liberal influx seems to have started in the late 1980s. My literary agent used to bump into Meryl Streep in Peck’s, and that was years ago.

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  17. reid says:

    @Mister Bluster: Heh. It’s tough to admit that your 83-year old mother is fully pregnant.

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  18. reid says:

    @CSK: Yes, I think it has been going on for a long time but seems to have accelerated around then. I mostly left the area in the late ’80s. In the last 20 years I’ve visited several times and have been quite happy with the influence of “those city folk”. Nice coffee shops, restaurants, etc.

    I’m from the northern part, Chatham, so Peck’s didn’t ring a bell.

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  19. Mister Bluster says:

    …I didn’t vote for any Republicans. Can every Democrat say that?
    Pearce throws down a purity challenge.

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  20. James Pearce says:

    @mattbernius: So a polling place in Maricopa County Arizona gets closed and you think Dem votes are being suppressed?

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  21. James Pearce says:

    @Mister Bluster: Nope. It’s a “quit making excuses” challenge.

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  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: The trick with Pearce is to ask him which path the other knight would tell you to take*

    (*Obscure Shade only understood by fans of Raymond Smullyan. The best kind of shade.)

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  23. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Here in Colorado, it’s mostly voting by mail. While you can go to a polling place and register right then, most longer time voters received ballots two week ago.

    On the other hand, I had five different ballots to complete, as there are initiatives that affect count, town, fire-zone, etc. Kind of intimidating in a way… However Colorado prints out a blue-book for voters explaining all amendments and initiatives with information both pro-and con for each one submitted by those concerned. A wealth of riches as far as information is concerned.

    When I read what Texas does to suppress voting, it’s just sad.

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  24. KM says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Agreed. Being a Trump supporter means you support Trump aka you are willingly choosing him and his behavior. You can be a conservative or Republican and not support Trump himself – there are not inherently the same thing. At this point there’s no more excuses or fig leaves to hide behind – to support Trump in any fashion is to make the choice to willingly align with him, his words and his actions. You don’t get to accept the Mark of the Beast and then claim you weren’t really serious about it.

    I have family members like reid’s mother who are still tepidly pro-Trump. They don’t like how “crass” he’s being but they’re not exactly running away from his positions. They’re more concerned with that he’s bad press for their ideology then the fact that he’s baldly stating what they believe in without the crouched terms and BS. For instance, they’re fine with children being migrant separated from their parents so long as it was done “humanely” – the cage imagery only bothered them because “kids aren’t dogs!” When pressed on why it was OK to take the kids, they’d get uncomfortable and admit that it was an effective deterrent for them and babysnatching was OK so long it was done on their terms and not splashed all over the news. Again, these are people more concerned with the negative social connotations of a behavior then the behavior itself.

    I have little patience for people who can’t own their sh^t. If you steal, you are a thief. If you drive “buzzed”, you’re a drunk driver. If you abuse opioids, you’re a junkie just like you’d call someone abusing heroin. If you support Trump even only vaguely, you’re a Trumpkin. Make your choice, take the label and understand it’s part and parcel of the action. Don’t want the label, then think about what action you’re taking and why you think the label is worse then the deed.

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  25. KM says:

    @James Pearce:
    Why do you assume that just because it’s Maricopa County Arizona it’s going to Repub votes? Phoenix is in there, for god’s sake. *Where* in the county matters and frankly, with the way Repubs have been blatantly screwing with voters in the last few weeks, it’s not unreasonable to think this was targeted at an area they suspect of turning blue.

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  26. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Yup. However, this was Ithaca, home of Cornell University, so I expect a huge splotch of blue. (Actually a lot of Upstaters are more New England type Republicans.)

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  27. Mister Bluster says:

    Republicans said the prohibition will force voters to be more thoughtful when they cast their votes.

    That would be the prohibition of straight ticket voting passed by the Republicans in Illinois that went into effect in 1997.
    I was very thoughtful today as I filled in all 20 circles completely next to the Democratic candidates on my ballot at the precinct 4 polling place at the Makanda Township Fire Station.
    I was thinking that as long as the pvssy grabbing sexual pervert Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican Party they will never get my vote.

    Edit: At 9:30 this morning there were probably 12-15 citizens exercising their franchise and 10 or so poll workers between the two precincts at the site. About the same as last March during the Illinois primary.

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  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce: You actually think there are no, as in zero, nada, DEM leaning precincts in Maricopa county? No majority Latino precincts??? I have no idea where this one is located but I would not be surprised in the least if it was a majority Latino precinct.

    But I suppose your imagination can’t stretch that far.

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  29. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan:..The trick is to ask Pearce

    Why would I want to ask him anything?

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  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:
    You’ve already been corrected on voter suppression, which means you are now being deliberately dishonest. Hardly a surprise from you, but I thought I’d mention it.

    Oh, and you can’t possibly say something that fcking clueless about Maricopa County and expect to be taken seriously. In 2016 Maricopa gave Trump 49.1% and Hillary 45.7%, a fact easily discoverable when you finally learn to use the Google.

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  31. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Michael Reynolds: So certain of voter suppression, and yet so unwilling to consider that Republican voters might also be affected, too.

    Keep making excuses, guys.

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  32. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    unwilling to consider that Republican voters might also be affected

    Look at the stats, doofus.

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:
    Who controls elections, Pearce? Would it be the Secretary of State? And is that person a Republican actually named Reagan? And you think maybe she’s shutting down GOP precincts?

    Duh?

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. Two minutes of thought and research online and you’d never have said anything so obviously absurd. But of course you can’t be bothered. Which is why no one has the slightest respect for your opinions. Do the work if you want to be taken seriously.

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  34. Kathy says:

    @James Pearce:

    So certain of voter suppression, and yet so unwilling to consider that Republican voters might also be affected, too.

    Of course they’ll be affected, too. Suppression schemes have to be seen as plausibly neutral or coincidental or accidental. You can’t, as yet, declare votes for Democrats invalid, or prevent black people from voting because they are black. Not yet. You can’t even set up goons to intimidate voters, yet.

    So, for now, losing a few votes on your side is acceptable, as long as the other side loses many more votes.

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  35. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds: No one’s shutting down any precincts. You’re squeezing every little thing into your narrative on voter suppression. That’s all.

    It’s “its rigged” all over again. You’re going to win a narrow majority in the House in an election your own side says was rigged.

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  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Do the work if you want to be taken seriously.

    But what if the work is to promote the Jenos position but while pretending to be against it? You have to admit that in that case he is doing quite well.

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  37. mattbernius says:

    @grumpy realist:

    However, this was Ithaca, home of Cornell University, so I expect a huge splotch of blue. (Actually a lot of Upstaters are more New England type Republicans.)

    Ithaca is a small sploch of blue in a very red county. Having done grad school there, I can say that as soon as you get outside the city proper, things are really red.

    Though that’s also true of most of the Western NY cities — like Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse. They just have larger blue populations.

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  38. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnMcC: (OT, still Brexit) Note that the first rat is leaving the sinking ship.

    Either the U.K. gets its act together by the end of this month or we’re going to see a stampede of companies leaving. And the more people prepare, the more indifferent they will be to how Britain leaves the EU. After all, once you’ve hedged against disaster, you might as well egg disaster on, since it might wipe out some of your competitors.

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  39. KM says:

    @mattbernius:

    Though that’s also true of most of the Western NY cities — like Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse. They just have larger blue populations.

    You’ve heard the term Pennsyltucky? I’ve heard upstate NY referred to as Alabama North once you leave city limits. There’s a whole lotta red surrounding them islands of blue….

    It’s true for most states in general, though. Red cities are hard to come by, as is empty blue space. When we speak of red states, we’re talking about places where the empty spaces outweigh the humans crowded into tiny areas and the delicate balance that keeps it that way. Turning a red state blue is a matter of population redistribution, not necessarily a change of hearts and minds. The higher the state’s population creeps, the more likely it is to swing left by dint of sheer numbers. Turning a blue state red on the other hand requires either depopulation of the cities or a massive voter shift. You’re more likely to flip TX then NY and that’s got the GOP mighty nervous…….

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  40. mattbernius says:

    @KM:

    Turning a blue state red on the other hand requires either depopulation of the cities or a massive voter shift.

    Don’t forget disenfranchisement. There’s a reason why many states make it really hard for felons to regain the right to vote.

    Additionally, for in-state politics, it’s worth noting that in many cases disenfranchised prisoners are counted as population in the locales where the prisons are located. It’s one of the ways that rural communities maintain representation in state legislatures.

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  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I didn’t vote for any Republicans. Can every Democrat say that?

    While I think it’s probable that not every Democrat can say that (nor that it is universally wise to do so), I have no difficulty believing that more Democrats than you imagine probably did.

    [And would some one give him a cookie or something already? JEEEZ!]

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  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Here in Colorado, it’s mostly voting by mail. While you can go to a polling place and register right then, most longer time voters received ballots two week ago.

    You mean to tell me that

    I did what I had to do to vote

    was just Pearce trying to virtue signal and blow smoke up our a$$e$?

    I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

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  43. wr says:

    @James Pearce: ” I did what I had to do to vote, and I didn’t vote for any Republicans. Can every Democrat say that?”

    I can’t — because of New York’s moronic anti-voting policies. I learned with two weeks’ notice that I had to be in Taiwan preparing the show I wrote for shooting in December during the election and started the insanely long process of requesting an absentee ballot, which still hadn’t arrived by the time I left the country.

    If I still lived in California I could have easily voted before I left. But California believes that voting should be encouraged. Thanks to New York’s corrupt, Republican-controlled senate and Democratic thug governor, my current home state aspires to be Kemp’s Georgia in terms of voting.

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  44. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: Hmm. I’m going back to London in February to see the huge Burne-Jones show at the Tate Britain — wonder how low the pound will be!

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  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    So certain of voter suppression, and yet so unwilling to consider that Republican voters might also be affected, too.

    Jeebus you are a stupid fuck. What did I actually say?

    I have no idea where this one is located but I would not be surprised in the least if it was a majority Latino precinct.

    In other words, I assumed nothing, where as you assumed all voters in Maricopa county were in fact GOP/non Latino? WTF has gone wrong with you? You use to not make such obvious mistakes. But now you do so almost daily. Next thing you are going to tell me is that there are no racists in Maricopa “we re-elected “I hate wet backs”” Joe fk’n Arpaho 6 fk’n times county.

    You know, if you are getting beaten around the head repeatedly by a racist piece of shit for 24 years, it’s a pretty safe bet that even if he doesn’t use a baseball bat, they hate you. But you wouldn’t know that. You’re white.

    How convenient for you.

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  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce: Oh, and for the record, Maricopa County is 30.1 % Latino.

    What, you don’t think there is segregation there?

    WTF world do you live in?

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  47. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “WTF world do you live in?”

    It’s probably more accurate to ask what bridge he lives under.

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  48. James Pearce says:

    @wr: Move to Texas then. You can make movies anywhere.

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Jeebus you are a stupid fuck.

    I’ll be nice, but fair warning: Don’t talk to me like that. The rest of your comment wasn’t read and won’t get a response. Not after that.

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