National News Roundup: Week 47 (December 10–16)

By Randall McNair (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

The theme of this past week’s news was largely “brace yourself for raining shoes” — and several boots and a sandal have yet to drop as I write this. This week, keep your eyes peeled for Mueller mayhem, final votes on tax reform, and personnel changes on Capitol Hill. But in the meantime, here’s some info on what has happened already.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not an FBI agent! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

This week was pretty quiet on the Russia Collusion Investigation front, in part because rumors started circulating that Mueller was about to be fired — but here’s what has happened:

  • Mueller Email Adventures. Over the weekend, the Trump administration accused Mueller of unlawfully obtaining tens of thousands of emails from them because he went through the third-party General Services Administration. But as several legal experts note, public email accounts have no expectation of privacy, and it would be prosecutorial misconduct not to request the records. These claims fuel concern that the President is looking for an excuse to fire Mueller, despite his lack of authority to do so (and his claims to the contrary).
  • The Latest in Harassment Personnel Changes. With last week’s sweeping resignations come new seat-holders, and boy howdy is some of the process looking weird! I think I touched upon this last week, but the governor of Michigan has announced they won’t hold a special election at all, opting to leave John Conyer’s former seat open for an entire year and simply having ordinary elections in 2018. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s governor has appointed Lt Governor Tina Smith to take Al Franken’s seat, but it’s unclear when Franken plans to leave (and her appointment has created chaos in the state’s politics). And it’s completely unclear who is favored to replace Trent Franks, despite a primary election happening in only two months. So it’s been a bit of a wild ride all around.
  • Tax Reform Remix. The tax reform roller coaster appears to be nearing a stop this week, but that’s not a good thing, as it’s currently slowing down right near a gilded circle of hell. Mnuchin released a one-page report this week, which Forbes (rightfully) says he should be ashamed of releasing; among other things, the report confirms that the tax cuts are so expensive that they cannot pay for themselves, and “welfare reform” (i.e. Medicaid and Medicare cuts) will be necessary to pay for it all. That, unfortunately, did not stop Bob Corker and Mark Rubio from eventually hopping aboard for the final version of the bill, leaving the GOP so confident they had the votes that they let McCain take the week off. Though the final version of the tax reform bill does soften a lot of the House version’s harshest edges, it still includes a repeal of the health insurance mandate, and it’s very likely to widen wealth inequality in the country. The Washington Post put out a good comprehensive summary of the final version, which is definitely worth a read (or at least a skim) if you get a chance. But the short version is: If you aren’t rich, it isn’t gonna be great.
  • Federal Judge Withdrawals. Several deeply embarrassing federal judge nominations went the way of the dinosaurs this week! The first to go were Brett “Does it count if my wife practiced law?” Talley and Jeff “I Literally Told You I Illegally Discriminate” Mateer, who were both unceremoniously screened out by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. But after another nominee, Matthew Spenser Peterson, couldn’t answer extremely basic questions about legal procedure — like “I don’t know what a motion in limine is” level of basic — he withdrew his nomination today. Hallelujah, it’s raining turkeys!

And that’s basically the news that was fit to email this week — some good, some bad, most unfinished. It’s like the Big Dig of news weeks! And speaking of unfinished, the next few weeks are going to be a bit wonky here at Roundup Center, because both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Monday. The tentative plan is to issue the Christmas roundup on December 26, and I’ll check in from there on how to handle New Year’s. Until we meet again, happy holidays!

Resist ornament sewn by Benn Kessler

Hijinx in the Missouri Capitol

House Republicans Target the Ordo Sororitatis Satanicae

The Ordo Sororitatis Satanicae (OSS) has been receiving messages for details on how all this Missouri Capitol trouble started. We’re up-front but a little exhausted, so we take to our blog for the necessary update.

Note: to keep our blood pressure at acceptable levels, this briefing will include therapeutic fun references and screenshots. Enjoy…

Rep. Mike Moon was once gifted the “Dirty Rotten Sexist Scoundrel Award” by NARAL! https://www.prochoiceamerica.org/nsfw-mo-state-rep-mike-moon-thinks-ok-play-chicken-womens-rights/

The setup…

The Ordo made a total of three House Floor requests in 2018; all were rejected with ambiguous Rule 19 cited in response. Though we pushed for further clarification on how to become Missouri House Guest Chaplains, those detail specific questions were never answered. We also performed a religious act of service in the Capitol rotunda, like many religious groups do.

In 2019, one of the first things House Republicans did during legislative start was change house Rule 19, a rule banning specifically, guest chaplains. We were shut out. Those details, here.

Here’s the players, insofar as we know…

Everybody should know Rep. Mike Moon by now, he’s the cattle-poultry rancher who killed a chicken on Facebook Live, because he was mad about abortion and Greitens’ (Missouri’s skeevy ex-governor) Special Session. We don’t know… he wrote a 3-page Facebook rant explaining his act (that didn’t), claiming it was the viewers fault for not understanding his video shtick.

Anyway, Moon’s been behind a shit ton of ridiculous, intelligence and humanity insulting legislation in Missouri. Take your pick, anti-LGBTQ, Transfolk attacks, save the fetus/forget the child. He has a porn ‘stache to die for though, is sanctimonious and smug to boot. This is his last term, and we can certainly give an amen and hallelujah to that! Let us hope he has no future aspirations in politics anywhere… of any type.

Enter Don Hinkle, the “Public Policy Director” for the Southern Baptist Convention, and Editor for the “Pathway”. He keeps the rural folks riled up, lobbies, and spouts a bunch of bullshit in his bullshit news(hate)paper. Don seems to have a Capitol crush on his pal Rep. Mike Moon who is featured in Don’s “Facebook top 5 photos,” where he was attending one of Hinkle’s religious freedom rotunda rallies.

Sherry’s two cents https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216637325987778&set=ecnf.1000313941&type=3&theater

Hinkle is basically Missouri’s own version of Fred Phelps Sr., just without the dumb signs or ridiculous flag skirts. We’ve never actually seen Don at any of the counter protests he likes whipping his extensive congregation into a religious frenzy over. No, Don does his dirty work through the “Pathway,” Missouri Baptists & Calvinists favorite source for “news” and good clean (Caucasian?) facts. Don’s religious work extends to the cap, he brags about his own influence over legislators during their “prayer walks” around the capitol. He’s also smug, longwinded as hell, and hates everybody Mike Moon hates.

Moon-Hinkle’s entourage? Some familiar names of recent headlines…

Hardy Billington (R-Poplar Bluff): Don likes to pal around with Rep Hardy Billington, the guy who just sponsored another attention getting bill, HB728, directed at atheists/non-Christians. This bill was designed to intimidate “Other” into not reporting church & state offenses.

Who doesn’t love sitting in Cracker Barrel for 3 hours remembering fondly (the good old days) of the old testament? https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216637325987778&set=ecnf.1000313941&type=3&theater

Sherry (busybody) Kuttenkuler: Sherry (busybody) Kuttenkuler is Moon’s legislative assistant and was (or is) an electoral voter. Sherry also speaks at the Capitol Rotunda, sometimes for homeschooling, and sometimes for “Bikers for Trump”. She’s sure riled up for the April 16 gun rally at the capitol! Sherry makes sure to comment on Hinkle’s tirades, distributes Mike Moon’s prayer chain letters calling us demons across social media, and probably through Capitol email no less.

Sherry talking about stuff important to her in the Rotunda. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=593763024384138&set=t.1299000832&type=3&theater

Rep. Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon)- We saw (who we thought was) Rep. Nick Schroer, prowling above on the 2nd floor during our 2019 disrupted service. He shared an office with Moon during 2018… and is creepy in that Handmaid’s Tale sort of way. Big surprise, Schroer is behind autonomy violating legislation in Missouri, being the sponsor of what is currently the most aggressive piece of anti-choice legislation in the country: HB126. We hope he heard our thoughts on his shit bill while he was lurking creepily about upstairs, trying to stay out of our photographer’s range.

The space we paid for Moon to legislate against our bodies in 2018

Ask and ye shall receive, Rep. Mike Moon. We came and we prayed for you, in our own way. Appreciate the post-its summons!

To sum up the players, we have three grandstanders at a minimum. Moon-Hinkle want everyone to believe they’re in “spiritual charge of every soul (and body) in MO”. Or something like that.

Now that you know the players, here are the 2018 Invocation series of events (relevant to 2019)…

So, we have Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum here, who in 2018 fell all over themselves trying to prove their godly, manly firmness to their constitegration. (We like that word and we’re keeping it. Constituency+Congregation. Done.)

On 5/16/2018, Don Hinkle speaks of Capitol info through a “source with integrity” then admits he’s a liar spreading disinformation. (take those little wins with relish, savor them…)

We suggest self-flagellation. (Sherry still holding it down in the comments sections.)

On 5/17/2018, Mike Moon sends out his call to his demon fighting assistant, Sherry, to gather his prayer warriors to come battle demons with him.

Somewhere on Facebook… screenshot from 5/18/2018

On 5/18/2018, “The Conservative American” posted Moon’s message to Sherry to bring out the gimp, we mean, the prayer warriors, in what had become a Facebook legislator prayer anti-demon chain letter.

Now an anti-demon invoking prayer chain letter…

Share Bear doing her thing, and look at the OSS! Wedged right in there between “Fire 4 Harvest Ministries” and “March for our Rights”.

On 5/18/2018, Hinkle comes back and tries to save face with some supposed rationalizing and freeze peach wordplay. During his sugar coated tirade, Don threatens to launch an act of civil disobedience that would result in him being forcibly removed and jailed… if Satanists were ever to open the a session of the Missouri House or Senate. Goals, Don, goals. Challenge accepted!

https://www.facebook.com/don.hinkle.75/posts/10214080995711162

On 8/23/2018, Hinkle wrote an article about our rotunda invocation in his Pathway publication, which included laughable speculations demonstrating his inability to grasp complex concepts. In his heinous, ill-contrived tirade, he used transphobic language regarding Dame Sister Gwendolyn. His ideologically fueled hate-fervor knows no bounds, yet he demands and receives the ears of our legislators. Tsk.

Summing up 2018…

Though the Moon-Hinkle-Sherry prayer warriors had answered Moon’s calls to religious counter-protest, they did not disrupt our 2018 rotunda service… well, not entirely. We could hear them murmuring above, which was actually a cool rotunda sound effect. However, we did publicly voice our concerns over the VIP Whisper Room key-holder practices at that time.

A few months later, we felt the need to express our contempt in a productive, creative-yet-non-time-consuming manner. We found our therapy in writing stupid-ass scripts and making low production quality parody vids. One of these videos riffed on Moon. We aren’t sure how well the satire video went over with Mike, we like to think it gave him a (probably smug) chuckle. Maybe not. He seems kinda fired up this year, but that could be because he’s terming out. (If anybody would like to play the parody role of Don Hinkle, our separate creative is accepting future volunteers. Video & props must be of poor quality to qualify. Thanks!).

Stupid-Ass funny scripts, bad acting, and low production quality!

We arrive back in 2019…

Rule 19 is changed, excluding Guest Chaplains and sealing the door to the House’s religious political echo chamber. Mike Moon is still smug and making bad legislation. Don Hinkle remains a bloviated gasbag with an apparent Moon crush. Sherry is probably still busy sending out Moon’s prayer warrior calls to join his demon fighting gang on Capitol email, all on the taxpayer’s dime. We have/had three rotunda events scheduled this year, with this next Monday, March 11th being our 3rd and final event for the 2019 House session, but let’s hope not final-final. Such is the sad state of Missouri legislature, as the world knows.

At our 2nd rotunda service on 2/28/2019, the prayer warriors were back… somehow. Maybe that’s because we were on the Capitol schedule this time around (what alerted Moon-Hinkle & Share Bear to our service in 2018, see photo of post above). Unfortunately, we didn’t make the Capitol schedule for our 2/7/19 service. Guess we snuck one in there. Getting sloppy, demon fighters.

Here is the Ordo’s official statement on the disruptions at our last service:

https://www.facebook.com/OrdoSororitasSatanae/photos/pcb.782032212173319/782021285507745/?type=3&theater

Here is a video of the continued disruptions during our 2/28/19 Lilituan Act of Educational Service at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri. Though we had permitted floor time, the Capitol allowed the disturbances to continue:

OSS Capitol Service Rotunda 2/28/19

We end this detailed and opinionated explanation by stating:

We have never given any indication we were “summoning demons,” but simply invoking the meaning behind a powerful female archetype that inspires us. If anyone has been summoned, these goons have summoned us to the Capitol with their foolish acts and bad legislation.

We aren’t the spectacle.

They are.

Ave Lilitu!

-OSS

The Creative Concord

Successfully, Karl Marx identified the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and ‘the material dialectic’, but, despite his emphasis on creativity, he failed to identify the artifex, meaning ‘creator class’, which is made up of entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists. An artifexian, which is a term first introduced in this paper, is anyone who creates or recreates a means of production and/or a thing to be produced. Marx, it seems, conflated creators with the general proletariat. Consequently, his material dialectic only halfway addresses the nature of socioeconomic change. The full dialectic by which society ‘marches’ through history can be expressed as follows:

‘The Creative Concord’

Creativity ‘The Material Dialectic’

or

Creator(s) (Owner(s) | Worker(s))

or

Artifex (Bourgeoisie | Proletariat)

Defining the material dialectic, Marx argued that Capitalism was inherently contradictory, for it inevitably undergoes, of one kind or another, ‘creative destruction’: the businesses it produces destroy others, the resources it consumes leaves many lacking, and so on.1 In other words, at the center of Capitalism is self-destructive paradox. Though the material dialectic properly delineates how socioeconomic orders change within a given creative epoch, it does not describe how such orders change through them. To allude to Karl Popper, history changes not in line with any kind of dialectic, but in concordance with unpredictable inventions, ‘eurekas’, and ‘creative acts’.2 Marx, coming before Popper, missed this point, and so created a theory and system that works within a fixed epoch, but not through multiple epochs. If Marx, as brilliant as he was, had been afforded an awareness of Popper, he would have probably recognized ‘the creative concord’ and artifex himself. Failing to identify the creator class, Marx missed that Capitalism expands itself while carrying out creative destruction within itself. The proper dialectic isn’t just composed of creative destruction, but creative destruction along with creativity, which is the applied mental process behind innovation, invention, and creation.

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I

Marx claimed that alienation drives the working class (or proletariat) to revolt against those who own the means of production (the bourgeoisie). He was correct, making revolution eminent; the question remaining is how the revolution will occur. For the proletariat to seize the means of production and thus become like the bourgeoisie they rebelled against is just as alienating and ironic as being forced to work on something that one doesn’t own. Both kinds of alienation manifest in apathy, violence, and/or a desire to be ‘amused to death’.3 A forceful and violent revolution, as Marx ‘pointed to’ and Lenin advanced, rather than overcome alienation, causes alienation, which stimulated the revolution in the first place. Marxists and Leninists throughout history have revolted in the wrong way: they’ve continually chosen a ‘French Revolution’ over a ‘Glorious’ one, per se.

The concept of revolution for Marx was set in motion by his axiom of the material dialectic. Again, in this framework, since the revolution occurs within the dialectic that caused the tension, a successful revolution only makes the revolutionists the new bourgeoisie. This is no revolution, only a shifting of chess pieces. A true revolution moves beyond the framework it occurs within: a ‘moving around of pieces’ is only revolutionary if ‘chess’ is the only game around. If means of production were not created but simply ‘were’, then to seize them would be an act of revolution. However, all means of production are created, and it is this very act of creation that is truly revolutionary.

To create is to revolt: the man who starts a business claims that he has a competitive advantage over other businesses and seizes the means of production by creating a new means of production. Through creativity, he claims that he is part of the bourgeoisie without their permission. In creating what he owns and what he works, he furthermore chooses how he needs others by choosing which enterprise to create that requires demand, and so escapes both the enslavement of the bourgeoisie’s need for the proletariat and the proletariat’s need for the bourgeoisie. He becomes both — an artifexian — he becomes free. In this regard, the woman who pickets Big Oil doesn’t launch a revolution as effective as the woman who invents the alternative energy that obliterates its stock value.

Entrepreneurship is peaceful revolution.

Creativity is nonviolent resistance.

(Note that an artifexian isn’t someone who just thinks creatively, but who also realizes that creativity into being or enables others to formulate it. Unrealized creativity is nothingness. Also note that creativity is realized in structure. A society without structure is void, but a society whose structure includes organic activity and whose organic activity develops the society’s structure is a society that thrives. A purely artifexian society isn’t one without customs, laws, or rules, but one in which the limits enable limitless development.)

As there is a conflict between owners and workers, those who own and operate the means of production are always in a conflict with those who create the means of production. Those who invent can render a system of production arbitrary, which is a threat to both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Keep in mind that those who own the means of production are not necessarily the ones who create the means of production or who make them possible. Owners are many; inventors, few. Though Marx recognized the bourgeoisie and the proletariat caught in a tension, he failed to identify the tension between both them and creators.

Yet as the owner is enslaved to needing his workers, so the creator is enslaved in requiring a functional and efficient society and system of production. The creative person who has no food does not have time to create, and even if he does, without a means of distribution, his creativity cannot be received. It is the system of production that sustains a means of distribution for creators, but without creators, those means of distribution wouldn’t come into existence. The better and more stable the socioeconomic order, the more creativity can flourish. This is why technological advancements have grown rapidly over the last hundred years: society has become increasingly stable.

A creator requires an environment, but a creator doesn’t require others in the same way the bourgeoisie and proletariat require one another. The material dialectic fashions the environment that creativity occurs within, like a botanist preparing an environment for plant life, but the artifex ultimately transcends the dialectic by becoming that which feeds it material to construct its environment and itself, all while also teaching the dialectic how to do so.4 Though the master requires the slave, the slave in being a slave the master, the creator is his own master and servant. If there was no material dialectic, the artifex could create one, but the material dialectic couldn’t create the artifex. The artifex creates itself, while the bourgeoisie and proletariat create one another. They are helpless without the artifex, but the artifex isn’t helpless without them. If it needs them, it creates them. While the material dialectic forces people into the bourgeoisie or the proletariat, entrepreneurship and creativity offer a means for people to transcend this dialectic by becoming artifexians, owners and workers of their own makings. This transcendence is only possible in a free and creative Capitalistic society, while a society that is merely free inevitably undergoes creative destruction.

II

Unlike the material dialectic, the creative concord is not inherently conflicted or neurotic. The bourgeoisie and proletariat can choose to collaborate with the artifex and vice-versa. Thanks to the artifex, it is possible for the bourgeoisie and proletariat to likewise choose to collaborate with one another. The inherent tension of the material dialectic is thus eased. Through the artifex, the proletariat can transfer into the bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie into the proletariat without conflict. The relationship between the three classes can be expressed as follows:

A good society is equally B, A, and P. Without either B, A, or P, the system collapses. A growing society is one in which B and P lessens while A expands correlatively. It is never good for A to shrink, and always healthy for A to grow (considering people will naturally become different kinds of artifexians). An extraordinary society is completely A, and such a society, always self-motivated, is constantly growing and never alienated. Marx’s error was evolving Capitalism into Communism by melting B and P, rather than by growing A while B and P shrank into it.

As depicted, some members of the bourgeoisie are also members of the artifex, as are some members of the proletariat. It is possible for a member of the proletariat to become a member of the artifex, and in so doing, transfer into the bourgeoisie without alienation, as a member of the bourgeoisie can slip in the proletariat and escape upper-class alienation.5 The artifex is both an overlapping and independent structure, and it can function as a transfer stage or as a class-unto-itself. By creating an enterprise, a person comes to own and work a good of his or her making. Unlike the bourgeoisie, who is alienated by not producing what they own, or the proletariat, who is alienated by not owning what they produce, the artifex is free.6 The citizen who travels within the material dialectic from the proletariat to the bourgeoisie or vice-versa, finding alienation in both conditions, hopeless, is very likely to fall into depression, tragically rampant in the modern world.

The artifex is both autonomous and freely collaborative, while the proletariat and bourgeoisie cannot have autonomy and are forced to “work together” due to the material dialectic, making true, un-alienating collaboration impossible. Independence, freedom, and true community are only possible with the artifex, and the stronger it is, the stronger the individual and the society as a whole. The more the individual is able to help the other without alienating or being alienated, the more able the individual will be to find that working with others makes the most of oneself.

As mentioned, unlike between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, a person can be part of the artifex while also being part of the bourgeoisie and/or proletariat. This is a significant difference from the material dialectic; in that schema, the owner of the means of production could not also be one of the proletariat, nor was the other way around possible. But, in the creative concord, without conflict at all, a worker at a company can also be creating a new company on his laptop.

Not inherently self-destructive in relating to one another, the artifex, bourgeoisie, and proletariat can choose to transcend the material dialectic into the creative concord by working in concert. Rather than simply a dialectical relationship, creators and the material dialectic can harmonize. Until, that is, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat turn against the artifex, or vice-versa; then, the unity breaks down into a cacophony. Consequently, the creative concord devolves back into simply the material dialectic. It is only a matter of time then before the relationship between business owners and workers also collapses, just as Marx predicted. Clearly, the presence of the artifex is important for avoiding creative destruction by annulling the alienation caused by the means, management, and creation of production, while also offering a means for the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to shift or combine positions without psychological tension or violence.

The artifex both sees problems and envisions possibilities, and either addresses them or enables others with technology, knowledge, or motivation to do so. Others may not see what can be addressed, or may address one thing and fail to realize anything else to do. Because the artifex sees what is to be done and often does it, it is the artifex and the creative concord which drives history in the Hegelian sense. This is because, with perfection always just ahead, there is always something to be done which drives the artifex. If prevalent and influential, the artifex also shifts the focus from the distribution of limited resources to the creation of new ones, from the health of today’s enterprises to the birth of tomorrow’s. Rather than a model that is at the expense of some and advantage of others, the creative concord is inexorably to the benefit of all. It’s only a matter of time.

Again, without the artifex, the bourgeoisie and proletariat must clash; without creativity, the material dialectic is all there is, and, stuck in creative destruction, it will devour itself. Marx, like Einstein in Out of My Later Years, was correct to note that at the core of Capitalism is a paradox that is both the source of its productivity and self-destruction. Capitalism is an economic system driven by a desire for profit that subsequently raises the standard of living through mechanisms of problem solving and/or possibility realization, but once those problems are solved or possibilities made real, unemployment increases. Without new problems or possibilities, the system stagnates. Even if the material dialectic continues to have old problems to keep solving and maintains low unemployment, without new possibilities or problems, the standard of living flat-lines. With this lack of development comes a raising level of boredom, alienation, and tension between paralyzed high and low classes.

Creativity is both a source of employment and unemployment. It is a source of creative destruction, and as long as it is present, so shall creative destructive, and the material dialectic will not devour itself; at worst, to its benefit, it will lose itself in the creative concord. In a society where creativity is high, unemployment stimulates workers to be creative, and employment, for those feeling alienated by it, does the same. The jobs lost by creativity are made up by those created by it. If creativity was prevalent, when creativity caused an enterprise to close down and unemployment to go up, creativity would then set its eye on solving that problem. Unfortunately, in a society lacking creativity, unemployment and employment both cause alienation, alienation from which workers find no alleviation. These workers will want to revolt, but without creativity, they will revolt in a deconstructive manner and their personal lives suffer. In a creatively illiterate nation, the creativity there causes jobs to be lost out of balance with job creation, and those who lose their jobs will find themselves helpless, unable to transition into the artifex. Consequently, the less creativity there is, the more creation feels like a sin.

In a nation vibrant with creativity, the unemployment caused by the artifex would gradually force all members of the society to advance into the artifex, eventually causing the society to transcend alienation and the material dialectic. This makes society like Communism, but rather than obliterate class structure into a ‘universal class’, as Marx called it, it makes all people both classes. While the bourgeoisie and proletariat exist in conflict by definition, in the creative concord, the artifex eventually absorbs them into a harmonious family.7

The artifex also forces the owners of the means of exchange to invest more in variable capital than constant capital, addressing the concerns Marx raised in his theory on ‘the tendency of the rate of profit to fall’. While the bourgeoisie tends to invest in itself to maintain power — ironically stifling profit — the artifex forces it to invest in innovation and exploration by creating goods that put the value of the means of production that the bourgeoisie owns at risk. In other words, the artifex forces the bourgeoisie to grow the artifex. For this reason, if the artifex is large, it tends to become larger. However, if the artifex is small (as will be explained), it tends to become smaller. It is the proletariat, either for creativity or against it, which decides the directionality of the artifex’s development. Ironically, it is possible that the bourgeoisie will influence the proletariat against the artifex, but the proletariat can revolt against this manipulation by becoming creative and joining the artifex. A wise bourgeoisie will balance investing resources in the proletariat and the artifex, causing a gradual and sustainable rise in both the standard of living and rate of employment until the society is unified in the artifex.

“Cause-and-Effect” and Solution-Oriented Business

Part 1. The U.S. and Great Britain

The United States has been created by cause and effect since its’ independence from Britain. The creators of this country felt underrepresented, raised hell, and started the “taxation without representation” movement. This resulted in the Revolutionary War, where the thirteen colonies fought relentlessly against Great Britain.

People were disgruntled in a variety of ways, but became more infuriated with unfair representation because everyone could relate to it.

Strength came in numbers….

Part 2. Creation of Laws

Laws are created in reaction to groups of people being affected by someone or something that hurt them in an unethical way.

Laws are drafted by congress, voted on by the House of Representatives and the Senate, which require a popular vote to be passed — in basic terms. If a grievance has affected many people, it has more chances to pass in Congress and become a bill.

In Part 1, I talked about the creators being treated in an unethical manner. In effect, they gained freedom and created a system that divided power equally to the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches of Government.

The United States is one massive business, with over 27 million subsidiaries. What I mean is every business in the U.S. is a part of the country. Every business operates within the limits of its’ creator: The United States. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? A smaller example is when LoopNet, the highest trafficked commercial real estate website in the world, sold to CoStar Group for $860 million in cash, just by aggregating data from CRE’s (The Counselors of Real Estate) website. The advantages of bringing all the information together has attracted over 8 million people who are registered on the site and more than 5 million unique monthly visitors. CRE is similar to the United States, in that businesses have been created in effect of the resources it breeds.

To sum it up, businesses are just solution-oriented reactions (SOR) within society. The United States is just one big SOR to solve unfair treatment against citizens, and LoopNet is one big SOR to assemble and organize information for commercial real estate professionals. The most successful SOR’s are authenticated, solve problems, provide joy for many, or are a reaction of another one.

And success lies within just that: Your business preventing an unfavorable reaction, providing a favorable solution, or successfully filling in the gaps of another.

Written by Taylor Rossmann,

@: taylor0rossmann@gmail.com

NEOLIBERAL: Are you using this word wrong?

DISCLAIMER 1: I admit to having used it wrong in the past as well. DISCLAIMER 2: This image was less annoying until I realized that the cover photo dimensions are different from the dimensions for the same photos that are displayed elsewhere on Medium.

Let’s set aside the fact that usage often sets the definition for a word. This is true, but words having to do with politics and economics are contested battlegrounds and there is a war being waged in popular discourse to remove the meaning from the word “neoliberal” in the way economists and sociologists use it, to instead make it fit the needs of status quo warriors.

If someone implies that neoliberalism is juxtaposed to neoconservativism, then there’s your red flag that they don’t know what they are talking about.

Fair enough, many sources of information are either uninformed or purposefully muddying the water. “Neoliberal” is a technical word, defined by David Harvey in his book on the topic, A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

What the people who use this word wrong tend to mean is something like Palosi and Obama are neoliberal, whereas preemptive interventionists like Chaney and Bush are neocons.

Folks who make this mistake tend to exist primarily in the realm of politics as it is played in the U.S., and have very little grounding in the history of ideas, much less of political thought.

With that being said, though, plenty of people who are otherwise into philosophy continue to make this error because they do what I’m calling ‘armchair etymology,’ meaning they simply take the popularly known roots of the words at face value without doing research into their actual origins.

This mistake is easy to make if you know that “neo” tends to mean “new”. The real confusion comes from the technical definition of “liberal” vs. the popularized usage of the word “liberal” in mainstream discourse.

The popular definition of liberal tends to imply a horseshoe theory of human brains and groups. Mainstream media doesn’t help, as conservatives talk about the ‘liberal media’ and the self-proclaimed liberals are really little more than democrats.

People like Jonathan Haidt and George Lakoff don’t help either, as they write pseudo academic works that function to naturalize this notion that some brains are just more open to experience, whereas others aren’t, and this is therefore the cause for all the social divisions we see in the world. This kind of thing is utter bullshit, popular though it may be, but we have to set it aside for the time being because it’s not the main point of this short post (I’m coming for you though, Mr. Haidt).

The technical sense of “liberal” hails to classical liberalism, with slave-trade advocates like John Locke who championed free speech for the moneyed class and its right to overthrow monarchs (FYI, setting that slave thing aside, his arguments against the divine right of kings are super compelling, in case you know of any monarchists).

NEOLIBERAL, on the other hand, has to do primarily with economic policy that favors free market. David Harvey, who wrote the damn book that made this term one that is used by academics in the first place, says

Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade.” Page 2 from A Brief History of Classical Liberalism

For a more thorough post on what this is and how it works, and why it SUCKS and does not work, I recommend the two part work of Elton:

What I mean when I say Neoliberalism Pt. 1

What I Mean When I Say Neoliberalism Pt. 2

I would also recommend this post on Jonathan Haidt, since he came up, which was written by Emily Pothast

Also some great videos on the distinctions between liberals and leftists, liberals and leftists, etc.

How Classical Liberalism Decays Into Fascism by Radian2Pi

The Problem: Liberals by The People’s Bayonet

Dear Liberals: Let’s Talk! With Love, A Leftist by NonCompete

Civility by Thought Slime

Dave Rubin famously calls himself a liberal, but he and most of the new right have taken to strategically identifying as such. Here’s a playlist of some videos making this case.

Prager U is one of the worst offenders for spreading misinformation about what liberalism is and who leftists are. Here is a playlist that takes Prager U to task.

Thanks to Lampe and The Dangerous Maybe for the recent conversations that fed this post.

The FREE DOOM of Power. – nwosu uzoma – Medium

The FREE DOOM of Power.

According to friedrich neitzche, “ the driving force of humanity is the will to power” .

Now, this may be true or inaccurate but the concept of power and who controls it is a dominant theme in human history.

What is power? Power is the ability to exercise dominance or control over another being and the ability to affect or influence his choices or actions with the least or absence of resistance from such being.

Humans are control freaks, they posses an innate desire to dominate and control everything in their natural surrounding and those includes other humans.

Over time man has exercised control over his fellow man, through various means , this power to dominate another’s Will often rested in a very few elite group, who called themselves by many different many names such as “priests “, “kings”, “judges”, “church”, “government” etc.

These elite groups have often controlled ‘the knowledge’ which is the key to power and exploited this knowledge in order to keep the entire populace in the darkness of ignorance and control their choices and actions by means of “force”, “fear”, “propaganda”, “ false sense of unity”, “scarcity”, “reward and punishment “, “food” etc. BY controlling the options we choose from, they have in turn controlled our choice, by releasing to us our stock of knowledge they have in turn decided what we should know.

The use of force, fear, guilt, intimidation, submission and God; worked in the past and humanity was perpetuated in a dark age of ignorance and fear, with all the wealth and power centred in the hands of a very few elite group.

After the scientific and cultural explosion of the renaissance in the early 16th century, such crude means of control and domination became obsolete as “kings” and “priesthood”, faded away, new means emerged such as the rise of “nation states”, “ ideologies such as communism, capitalism, liberalism etc” “ the emergence of the media” “ industrialization and urbanization “ “technology, money and science”.

It was karl marx who pointed out that whomever controlled the means of feeding the populace controlled the populace, so we find that in free system with many possibilities of living in luxury and ease, everything has to be bought for a price, the more money one possesses becomes the means to our comfortability. So we continue. to work for more money to access more liberties working endlessly, but we seem like the donkey who has the carrot tied to his nose who can only smell it but cannot taste it, then one becomes a slave for money.

They gave us technology which is supposed to serve us, but we become addicted and lazy and end up becoming slaves to the technology, the evidence is seen in the way we become glued to our televisions and can’t take our eyes off our phones.

The older generation are dulled to sleep by the media and gossip about politics, news and work.

The younger generation with more active minds have their put to sleep by endless entertainment and leisure which always carries a theme of obscenity, drug abuse and violence and the young people have become what they see.

They have by constantly controlling how we are fed, both physically and psychologically controlled our ability to choose and our thinking behavior, so all we are become is a mass of sheep with the inability to think out of the box or even to realize there is no box.

And as usual religion is the opium of the masses.

Update on Catalonia: An Interview

Some are wondering what is happening in Catalonia since they voted for independence in October and Spain called for a special election. Well, I reached out on Twitter to my Catalan followers and received several responses. Here is the most detailed response I have received so far:

Angel Fox: Can you tell me what the current situation in Catalonia is?

@DemocracyInCatalonia:

  1. The current situation is the following: After the referendum on 1 October, the Spanish state initiated a legal offensive. It began before actually. But it hardened after the referendum. Jailing all of the Catalan independence movement leadership became the goal of State prosecutors. The crimes of rebellion, sedition, misappropriations are being used against the former government ministers. Some are in prison in Madrid, some have fled to Belgium. The Spanish government triggered article 155 of the constitution (http://democracyincatalonia.com/article-155/ ) removing self-rule from Catalonia, but also calling elections. Presumably, Rajoy called elections early on as a result of pressures from the EU (or let’s say Germany), but those would have been in private. The official line so far in Europe is: “we don’t meddle in (other) member states internal affairs”. Anyway, as expected the elections yielded a parliament that looks pretty much the same as the previous one, with some minor changes.

Ciudadanos now concentrates the unionist vote. The unionist vote has been mobilised through Catalan bashing and outrageous lying in the Madrid media. Most mother-tongue Spanish speakers is Catalonia are unionist leaning and get their news from the Madrid media as Catalan media is in Catalanlanguage. They are also generally first or second generation immigrants from other parts of Spain that live in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, the so called industrial belt, asloknow as red belt (beacuse they used to vote socialist) and now called orange belt because they vote Ciudadanos.. in Catalan elections, not Spanish elections, where they vote Podemos.

Anyway, Ciudadanos was the most voted party, and the PP collapsed in Catalonia.

So, the pro-independence camp won again with Puigdemont’s party getting over 21% and Junqueras getting 21% too. But Puigdemont is in Belgium and Junqueras in prison.

On 4 January there will be a hearing and the possibility that the judge may release Junqueras who has now been re-elected to take his seat in parliament… personally I don’t expect it to happen. The investiture session is meant to take place on the 17th, and there is talk of Puigdemont being made president by parliament remotely, I guess in writing or videoconference somehow. But the constitutional court will probably not allow that. 19 of the newly elected members of parliament are facing trials and long prison terms..

What will the government do..? I don’t know. It will depend on a variety of pressures and calculations. As important as what the government does right now is what the judiciary does. How directly does the government control prosecutors and judges is not completely clear to me. On the one hand they do appoint them and they share this fanatical ideology about Spanish unity. So with prosecutors, there’s a chain of command and they obey the minister who obeys Rajoy. With judges, be it the supreme court or audiencia nacional, they too are political appointees. But I don’t know if they can just get told what to do..

Angel Fox: What do you see the Spanish government doing next?

@DemocracyInCatalonia: So, I guess I’m not answering your second question. I guess they would like to find a way of stabilizing the situation and to recover normality. Their international standing has taken a hit. Spain is no longer that “friendly albeit sort of average western-European country”, they care about reputation that’s for sure, but Spanish unity is even more important. I am 40 years old, I’ve been living in Barcelona for 18 years, I’m culturally Spanish (as opposed to Catalan), half-Irish (hence my English).. anyway, these are completely unchartered waters for us.

Angel Fox: How are the Catalan people responding to the current situation?

@DemocracyInCatalonia: As to the last question, very quickly: On the pro-independence side there is a very high degree of determination, it has become a question of democracy and dignity. On the unionist side, it is very confusing.. mainly many people who are not usually political have been mobilized to vote through the demonization of separatism by the media. The challenge for the independence movement is to make greater inroads amongst Spanish speakers and convince them about the virtues of the Catalan Republic as a democratic project on which to build the kind of decent society which is impossible within the Spanish state.

It is clear to me that the Catalan people are not giving up. However, the Spanish government is clearly fascist and Rajoy, as a dictator, intends to try and squash their victory and his call for a new election backfired. President Puigdemont will continue his presidency in exile until these issues can be resolved. Hopefully, it is done peacefully for the sake of my friends in Catalonia. Peace be with you and love.

How to Support Your Local Police

A macabre satire written earlier this year reacting to a Congress and an administration that just keeps on shafting.

Among many other federally funded programs, aid to state and local law enforcement has taken hits from the GOP’s budget axe. In response to cries from conservative lawmakers that reducing criminal justice subsidies could unleash a crime wave, the Trump Administration filed legislation to take up the slack with a new program: the Citizens Law Enforcement Assistance and Revitalization Act, or CLEAR.

The draft legislation authorized any US citizen of majority age without a criminal record to terminate any US resident having a criminal record or who is in the country illegally. After liberal lawmakers objected that this would be discriminatory, a compromise was reached. The revised bill eliminates the criminal record condition and exempts persons under the age of 21 from being targeted. Illegal aliens, however, were not exempted.

Pursuant to CLEAR regulations, all persons wishing to commit homicide must apply for a Federal permit, good for one homicide under specified conditions. The US Department of Justice was put in charge of the program, expected to open for business in six months. To underwrite its cost, DoJ will assess application fees. Monies received via the program are projected to significantly increase revenues for justice-related activities. At the same time, by reducing the need for law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute homicides, public safety officials will have greater resources to target non-capital offenses such as illegal drugs, car thefts, domestic abuse, and jaywalking.

In announcing the passage of CLEAR, President Trump said “Thanks to this bold legislation, the brave men and women of our criminal justice system can sleep easier at night and during the day knowing that citizen vigil- um, volunteers are hard at work cleansing society of miscreants, slackers, cry-babies, and swarthy people who hate America, all at no public expense. So great.” When asked if citizens will be permitted to target politicians, Trump replied “Attorney General Sessions has advised me that this will be decided on a case-by-case basis.”

The application process for the CLEAR Program should be simple and straightforward. All applications must be in writing for now. At some point, applications will be accepted and permits issued over the Internet. Applicants will need to provide proof of citizenship and age, and complete a two-page form, a draft copy of which is shown below. DoJ has said applicants can expect to receive approval within six weeks, but certain conservative critics are already saying this is way too long. Strangely, or perhaps not, no liberal critics have spoken up on this matter.

Who The F@#! Is Still On Board With The Trump Administration? Rich People, That’s Who.

Note: This story originally appeared on my blog in August, 2017.

I just got done watching ABC’s Sunday morning news program, This Week with George Stephanopoulos. The roundtable of guests made much of the fact that Donald Trump’s approval ratings are at a record low, 36% according to a poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News.

This begs the question — who the fuck is still okay with this raging dumpster fire of a presidency? After all, 36% of the United States population is a whopping 117 million people, slightly less than the entire population of Mexico.

While it is tempting to blame the “deplorables” who stuck by Candidate Trump despite (perhaps, even, because of) his never-ending stream of racist, Islamophobic, and misogynistic invective, there are quite frankly not enough deplorables to skew poll results to that extent. And given Trump’s inability to make good on promises to “build the wall’, “lock her up”, “drain the swamp”, and “repeal and replace”, many Trump supporters are quietly planning to vote for someone else come 2020.

So who is still okay with Trump? Two words — rich people. Or, more accurately, rich people who have something to gain from creating a permanent underclass in America.

Donald Trump speaking at a rally

While the narrative of the 2016 election was that members of the woebegotten white working class voted for Trump out of sheer desperation, the truth of the matter is that wealthy people supported Trump in high numbers.

The wealthy have quite a bit to gain from supporting a Trump presidency. After all, Trump threatened to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, a healthcare system that was partially financed by taxes on the 1%. His plans to deregulate Wall Street (by scrapping Dodd-Frank amongst other things) would make it even easier for the denizens of Wall Street to get even richer. Trump prioritized the roll back of several Obama-era environmental regulations in order to revitalize the coal industry, a move that, not creating all that many jobs, will only benefit a handful of coal company owners. And, having always been privileged, Donald Trump is much more inclined to favor members of his own class, despite his assertions to the contrary.

But there are even more nefarious reasons why certain members of the 1% would support Trump’s agenda.

According to Umair Haque of Bad Words, the American Dream was based upon little more than the legalized (and often brutal) economic exploitation of minority groups in America. Haque goes on to argue that when that when Jim Crow and racial discrimination were legally eradicated in America in the early 1970’s, the American economy stagnated.

In his Medium essay, “How America Imploded”, Haque writes:

Right around 1970…something seemed to go badly wrong with the US economy. Very badly wrong. Incomes began to flatline — and never recovered. Union participation shrank. Basic measures of well being like education, literacy, and health flatlined. Like an invisible fist had KO’d a society…

…What really happened to America? 1970 was roughly the year de jure segregation ended. We don’t need to debate the precise date, call it when you will. I date it to 1971, when segregated school buses were struck down by the Supreme Court. And it tells us a very powerful truth about life, economics, and America.

From slavery, through segregation, the US economy’s capital had a ready made supply of cheap labour. That is a crude way to put a barbaric human reality. People were exploited institutionally and systemically for profit is more accurate.

But in 1970 this supply of cheap labour suddenly began to come to an end. Now capital had to to pay higher costs. It couldn’t simply pool workers into two castes, one of whom was disposable, barely human at all. Exploitation was less efficient than it had been…

Capitalism was quite literally eating itself. Without a supply of cheap labour, the US economy was doing the only thing it knew how to do: create another one

While I agree with Haque’s analysis, I feel that it doesn’t go far enough. American prosperity was also built upon the sexist exploitation of women. Women in the workforce were — still are — paid less for the same work. This allows business owners to cut labor costs while maintaining (or even increasing) productivity. Cultural biases shut many women out of the corner office — guaranteeing that the highest paid and most prestigious jobs are reserved for men. Refusing to assign economic value to the housework and childcare performed by stay-at-home wives and mothers means lower Social Security payouts. The childcare crisis and the lack of paid parental leave not only prevents women from fully participating in the American workforce but requires them to literally pay for their right to work.

Now that Trump has allied himself to the anti-choice Christian Right (via Mike Pence), the economic exploitation of women will take on an even more pernicious edge. Because Pence (and the Christian Right wing of the GOP) have ramped up their war on women’s reproductive rights, a large number of American women will no longer be able to control their fertility.

Women who cannot control their fertility with birth control or abortion will inevitably have children they cannot afford. Having more children than they can afford guarantees that those women will not be able to supply resources like nutritious food, adequate housing, or comprehensive healthcare to their children. It also guarantees that the housing they do provide for their children will be situated in low-income neighborhoods, locales not known for providing the high-quality education that would enable their students to compete in the increasingly tech-driven and automated workforce. And the GOP’s desire to slash entitlements will only make it more difficult for these women and their children to escape from the inevitable cycle of poverty.

Guess what? People who are hungry, sick, and just plain uneducated due to poverty are much more likely to accept — uncomplainingly and even gratefully — the low-paying dead-end work that makes the capitalist business class rich.

That being said, the capitalist class is always going to be okay with Trump’s agenda.

The Road to 160

On November 8, 2016, Republicans held 66 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. Democrats held 34. But Hillary Clinton, who won Virginia by almost 5 points, won in 51 of the 100 House of Delegate districts.

One year later, Democrats flipped 15 seats in the House of Delegates and fundamentally changed the balance of power in the Virginia state legislature. How did this happen? First, the “Hillary 17” gave us a blueprint. It showed us where we needed to compete to take back the House of Delegates. Then, Democrats ran more candidates, raised more money, and had a better ground game than in recent years. All of this paid off, and Democrats flipped 14 “Hillary districts,” plus one other, to now hold 49 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. We supported 10 of those winners.

Democrats’ efforts in Virginia in 2017 were an amazing success, and EveryDistrict was proud to give significant grassroots donations to candidates running in the most competitive races. So, how do we replicate this success in other states? First, Democrats need a strategy. We’ve identified 162 districts across 16 states that Democrats need to, and can, flip. While Democrats have lost thousands of state legislative seats in recent years, we can build on the success of Virginia to take back even more seats next year.

To identify these seats, we developed something that is first-of-its kind. Political junkies are likely familiar with Cook PVI, the scoring system that assess the competitiveness of congressional districts across the country. Really big political junkies may even be familiar with the DPI, another scoring system. But no one before has developed a public competitiveness score for every state legislative district across the country and put it into an interactive map. Today, we’re launching our EveryDistrict State District Competitiveness Map that shows where Democrats need to focus to make the most impactful gains on the state level in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

This image shows a screenshot of the EveryDistrict State District Competitiveness Map. The yellow districts are held by Republicans and lean Democratic. The pink districts are held by Republicans and lean Republican. You can view the full interactive map at www.everydistrict.us/map.

The seats in this map have two goals: (1) to win back chambers and (2) to undo Republican supermajorities. After crunching the numbers for all of the approximately 5,400 state legislative seats in the country, we’ve identified these 162 as the top priority seats. The table below shows what the goal is in each state, and how many seats we need to win to get there. And while there’s more than one path to power, this map shows the easiest way to win by highlighting the seats that tend to vote for Democrats in statewide and national elections by the greatest margins, and therefore the seats that give us the best probability of success.

This chart shows the 17 target states highlighted in the map and how many seats we need to win in each state. Visit www.everydistrict.us/map to see the full interactive map.

This map gives us a strategy. But what do we need to do to win these seats and replicate our success in Virginia? We aim to do three things: (1) compete in more places, (2) increase grassroots donors’ impact through peer-to-peer fundraising, and (3) implement strategies that build base turnout and broaden the composition of the Democratic base.

Compete in more places. Virginia was a watershed moment. It was one of the largest victories for Democrats in Virginia history and fundamentally reshaped the balance of power in the Virginia House of Delegates. Democrats swept seats that had long been Democratic-leaning nationally, but held by Republicans locally. They also won in many Republican-leaning seats, and fell short in a number of “safe” Republican districts by only a small margin.

Most of the resources in Virginia concentrated on a small group of candidates in districts that reliably vote for Democrats in statewide and national elections. We expanded the playing field by supporting Democrats in more purple and red districts, and it worked. In Republican-leaning seats with strong candidates, for example the 10th, 72nd, and 85th Districts, Democrats won. But we might have done even better if more resources has gone to slightly more Republican-leaning districts. For example, we lost the 84th District by 700 votes, despite being outspent 10-to-1.

The 162 districts in our EveryDistrict State District Competitiveness Map show the narrowest path back to power. These are the seats we need to invest in now. But they’re not the only seats that matter. For Democrats to build sustainable majorities in state legislatures across the country, we have to compete everywhere. This map shows how we start doing that, and in the coming weeks we’ll be rolling out more maps that show where we need to compete to expand the playing field even more.

Empower grassroots donors. The excitement around the Resistance has created a great wave of energy among grassroots donors. We first saw this with Jon Ossoff, who raised a record-breaking $23 million in his ultimately unsuccessful bid to win Georgia’s 6th congressional district. In Virginia, we worked with grassroots donors to maximize their fundraising potential by not just relying on what they could donate, but by cultivating their networks, email lists, and friend groups to turn them from small- to large-dollar donors. In the more crowded atmosphere of 2018, we’re going to need to continue to maximize grassroots donor resources to ensure state legislative candidates have the money they need to run strong campaigns.

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be releasing more tools to maximize the power of grassroots donors through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Combined with our groundbreaking interactive map, we’re putting power in the hands of everyone who wants to make a difference at the local level to support strong candidates in winnable districts who are stepping up for Democratic values.

Build and broaden the base. Post-2016, Democrats seem caught in an endless debate about the base. Should we seek to rebuild our base turnout, particularly among minorities and young people, or do we focus on winning back the white working class? We believe that the answer is you have to do both. Ralph Northam and the House of Delegate candidates in Virginia succeeded in large part because of the Democratic base coalition. However, the districts that they ran in had many of the recipes for Democratic success in the age of Trump. They were highly educated and diverse, and increasingly trending blue.

In other places, in places where we have a real opportunity to shift the balance of power like Pennsylvania and Ohio, not all of those elements will be there. In some places, we’ll need to re-engage our base who might not vote frequently — or ever — on the state legislative level. We’ll need strong, long term organizing strategies that respond to the needs of these voters. At the same time, in districts where the win margin depends on Obama-Trump voters, we need organizing strategies to bring those voters back into the Democratic coalition. Our focus in working with candidates in 2018 will be to help them develop the strongest base organizing strategies available and to persuade where that’s what the race demands. We believe that Democrats can do both while maintaining core Democratic values.

So, that’s the plan, that’s the vision. With the right strategy, we can win these seats and lay the foundation to put even more districts in play in 2019 and 2020. If we do that, we can not only win elections, but install legislators who will enact long term change to benefit all Americans. We did it in Virginia, and we can do it again.

But we need your help. Sign up for our email list to get the latest updates and make a donation to help us start taking back these seats now.