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« Red-handed | Main | PA gaga »

Oct 26, 2008


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Extolling small-town folks for being part of the real America is a perennial piece of campaign sentimentality. The GOP has parlayed this into an attack on everyone else as being part of an other, non-America. Reality, however, says that most of us live in cities and suburbs, not in small towns or sprinkled along the countryside. You'd think making enemies of most Americans is something any politician would want to avoid.

If the polls are correct and Obama wins, looking at the suburban vote will be instructive.


I am sad to say that I know affluent (and apparently racist) white people who are swallowing the divisive political propaganda whole. They are not about to elect a black, Muslim, socialist, terrorist president. And if the rest of the country does, they are quite certain that Armageddon will commence immediately. The mindset makes me sick, and trying to rationally argue against it provokes an intense, rage-filled response, so I've stopped trying. Fear makes people scary.


Real Americans aka bitter clingers in some circles.


Well it is quite apparent to me that there is absolutely no reason to vote for John McCain and anyone who does is a racist.

How easily we forgot those people that cling to their guns and Bibles, you know the racists who just don't know any better and keep voting Republican because they hate black people. But this kind of division is the exclusive province of the Republican party. Obama never made that speech in San Francisco, that was just more racist Republican spin.

Only one racist in the whole lot, huh, Ed? That's one more than any of the white people I know. But again, by voting for McCain they don't really have to come out and say they are racists. The vote itself is the racist act.

Talk about dumbing down political discourse and taking political correctness and demonization of a whole group of people to the extreme. Get ready for more. First the Fairness Doctrine to curb opposition thought, then more "hate speech" laws, and pretty soon we'll just outlaw everyone who isn't a liberal Democrat. And some of you thought there was a retraction of civil liberties and the American way under Bush. You ain't seen nothing yet.

sean coon

such the drama queen.

Elizabeth Wheaton

So what should we make of Palin's apparent delight in promoting herself as a "redneck" in her campaign? Here's a tidbit from Fox:

"Sarah Palin took the stage to introduce her running mate and she acknowledged country star Gretchen Wilson who had serenaded the crowd with her song, “Redneck Woman” before the ticket took the stage.

The GOP Vice-Presidential nominee seemed star struck, but told the singer they have something in common, “I see Gretchen Wilson over there and I need to get your autograph before we leave! Hello! Yes! Someone called me a redneck woman once and you know what I said back? I said, ‘Why thank you.’”

She did pretty much the same thing in Asheville this weekend. I wonder how long until the Confederate flags come out?

Oops. I forgot. That's not racism, that's White Pride. Silly me.


Unfortunatley, Spag is right. It doesn't hurt my mouth to say it. Power to shred the Constitution has been handed to a fool. Now the power may be passed to a Constitutional scholar who can make more words from a soup can or a breakfast cereal box than Bush could from an online dictionary. Power seldom stays in hands of the bigger fool which the lesser fools handed it to. Any power given to government will be abused, enlarged, then used in ways you never imagined or intended. Giving power to your favorite fool to do good, you will be handing it to a future lower case messiah to do bad. The greater the power involved, the more ruthless the person will be who seeks it. It will never be used for right or wrong, but for the pleasure of the power seekers and their brown-nosers who are artful experts in the illusion of competence. Try sending a letter to the IRS and say you disapprove of the quality and services provided by past power seekers and you refuse to pay them. When power seekers are unsuccessful in using their power abroad on people not protected by sophisticated weapons, they turn their power on those protected by the Bill of Rights. So far the neocons have battled a ragtag, determined group to a stalemate on three fronts. Now the Russians have tricked the neocons into opening an ATM in Georgia; a country with statues and images of a neocon icon everywhere. If a person wants political power, this is the best indication that he cannot be trusted with it. " In questions of power..let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."~Thomas Jefferson I have yet to hear the "lcm" Constitutional scholar threaten the current mischief makers with this Charter. He seems to be recycling the paper in an effort to to speed up the shredder.


I think Robin Hayes's 'liberals hate real Americans...' comment will do more to those 'liberals' and other Obama voters meant to be caught up in that comment than it will to inspire new voters. I'm liberal, and I consider myself a 'real' American, and I hold hate for no one. Take Palin's 'pro-America' comment, implying there are anti-America parts of America. Right now it seems like more than half the country will vote for Obama, making them haters of 'real America' and not part of pAA (pro-America America). To win elections, some of those voters will need to switch from voting for Democrats to voting for Republicans. I could not see myself voting for someone who has questioned my patriotism, and I imagine there are many others who share that feeling. That rhetoric is extremely damaging to the Republican brand, and shows a lack of tangible ideas to debate. I see the more divisive Republican candidates, many of whom will lose, riding off into the sunset, hopefully replaced by ones who at least respect all Americans.

Ed Cone

WG, why do you hate America?


"I wonder how long before the confederate flags come out?"

Gee, I wonde rhow in the world some Rs get some of these crazy ideas?


"Well it is quite apparent to me that there is absolutely no reason to vote for John McCain and anyone who does is a racist."

Sam, I don't think that. But I also don't believe the world will end if America elects a black president. Sidenote: I have wondered how Dr. King would feel about it taking four decades after his death for that to become a real possibility.


"The greater the power involved, the more ruthless the person will be who seeks it. It will never be used for right or wrong, but for the pleasure of the power seekers and their brown-nosers who are artful experts in the illusion of competence."

Absolutely - anybody who says the power of the Presidency is limited is just plain crazy. The President has the inherent power of just being the President, especially when they are serving during difficult times. Look at how many times "Executive privilege" has been used in the past few years to skirt the law of the land, how people are portrayed as "bashers" if they just question the executive. It is no small wonder that these same people wish to retain the office and use all manner of scare tactics and insults to do so.
Just like being on the two yard line with the ball, the conservatives see the goal as finishing the job to mold the courts to their liking, increase the power of the military/industrial complex, and strengthen the power of the executive to an astonishing degree. That McCain's campaign seems desperate at times is an indication of how low they are willing to go to win the "game".
This is the most important election in decades.

Robin Leskovich

Two sides. On one side, electing a Black President (even if he is not really Afican-American) gets a large monkey off the back of the US. On the other side, we know next to nothing about this fellow except what he will have us know. He denies a lot that seems so, and some that may be so. He is a fine looking pig in a handsome poke.
Two other sides. 1) McCain is covered with warts. Big warts. He is the most disfigured presidential candidate in quite a while. 2) McCain stands up with the warts, as if to ask, "here I am; can a person get through life as long as I and still be pretty?"

When you need someone to deal with explosives, do you look at the man with ten perfect fingers, and say "he must be good, and says he is" he is the man; or, do you look at the man with 7 fingers and say "he has had mishaps, but has done the job" and say he is the man.
Or, do you say both things, and then decide? And if you do all the saying and still decide one way or the other, you will realize race was never far away.


Robin, I've got another analogy for you: the old sheriff is retiring, and nearly everybody in town is relieved because he didn't really understand what the town needed and he allowed his power to go to his head and people became afraid of what he might do.

There are two potential replacements: one is quick to anger and was a frequent supporter of the retiring sheriff, and the other is calm, collected and well-spoken, although he is a relative new-comer to the town. Which one do you give the badge and gun to?

Ian McDowell

The problem is that the seven-fingered man (which makes McCain sound like Count Rugin, implying that Obama may be Inigo Montayo) has developed quite a few more warts in the last year, so much so that some people who were previously inclined to vote for him are now going to hold their noses and vote for the other guy. Plus, the campaign itself has given us a good look at how both men behave under stress, and the pretty stranger (who's no longer so strange) is the one who's been acting adult, intelligent and Presidential, as a host of prominent conservatives from George R. Will (who basically said that being an inexperienced liberal is less of a danger to the Republic than being childish and possibly senile) on down have been glumly admitting.


The point is that the Obama campaign, and more particularly his supporters as evidenced on this page are every bit as divisive as those they claim to be divisive on the McCain sign. We have been practically been told the a vote for McCain is a vote for racism, that McCain voters are rednecks, Bible toting, gun clinging, ignorant morons, etc. Why and how that is not seen as dividing America into two groups of people by the Obama camp can only be explained by hypocrisy.

Talk about labels, Ed...


"McCain side..."

Ed Cone

Obviously (and as noted in this post and elsewhere) there are reasons other than race or "otherness" for which people might oppose Obama.

But that doesn't mean race has no impact on the campaign, or that the impact is not a reasonable topic of conversation.

Fred Gregory

Well this settles the argument. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

White people shouldn't be allowed to vote

" As a lifelong Caucasian, I am beginning to think the time has finally come to take the right to vote away from white people, at least until we come to our senses. Seriously, I just don't think we can be trusted to exercise it responsibly anymore. "


Not everyone who is against Obama is a racist, but all racists are against Obama.

Ed Cone

I'd guess there are at least some racists who will vote for Obama.


I see your point.

Tony Wilkins

cm, why do you call Obama black?


I initially thought Robin meant that McCain had actual warts on his face and was going to make a joke about it being the result of kissing toads like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

Ed Cone

TW, if after all the times this tired question has been trotted out you actually don't know that in American culture (and for much of its history, American law) a "single drop" of African blood made a person "black," then it's because you aren't paying attention or are just being willfully obtuse.

sean coon

this reverse-bradley effect meme is baloney. please stop watering down the definition of a racist. a true racist cann't get beyond obama's skin color or name to vote for him, no matter how much obama's policies might be good for his or her family. i'm talking about people like so many of those folks at palin/mccain rallies. these people are proud of their ignorance. they embrace their bigotry, they own it, they make paper hats out of it.

give them credit.

calling the self-interest driven, old school "crusty" white people who vote for obama "racists"... well, that seriously dilutes the brand.

ask Big L or Beau, they'll tell you.

Ed Cone

Sean, I'm not sure it's quite that black and white, to coin a phrase. I agree that there are hard-core racists who would never vote for Obama, but I think racist views and fears exist along a continuum. Maybe there's a taxonomy question in play -- racist, bigot, prejudiced, etc.

Not sure that this rules out the reverse Bradley thing -- although that derives from the race-based Bradley effect, I think of it as involving social pressure and social norms, not necessarily (or not only) racism.


And there are hardcore cultural snobs who will never vote for a Republican because they think "that part of America" is stupid and beneath them. Just as divisive, but when pointed out by Palin, she is the one being divisive. Obama is the one who talked about those who cling to their guns, religion, etc which was highly insulting not too mention simplistic.

The whole "stupid people vote Republican" is a tired mantra, yet gets trotted out every election.

Race has an impact on every campaign and is stoked by the Left just as much when they send the message like is being sent now that Republican's don't like black people. Not true, but enough people probably believe it to make a difference in how they vote.


Janet has a great spiel on how we just don't have enough words for expressing the nuances of behavior that falls under the single label "racist." Right now "racist" is a continuum that's so large and so intensely connoted by different groups that the word is losing meaning. Certainly the context of the word is different in 2008 than in 1958.

Ed Cone

Not sure who around here thinks this part of America is beneath them, but I don't think cultural differences or political posturing are "just as divisive" as racism, and certainly not its more extreme forms. "Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday."

In any case, the conversation is not so much about Democrats and Republicans as it is white voters and a black candidate -- many of the voters cited in the spate of articles on the subject are Democrats, and the question is how the racial attitudes of those voters (and independents) will play out in this election.

Tony Wilkins

Ed, I'd love a link or any type of direction to confirm the "single drop" explanation you give above. I've searched and have been unable to obtain that information. Since you know it to be true I'd very much appreciate your time in providing me with some type of reference. I'd certainly drop that "tired question" when your reference convinces me that his white mother and black father produced a black child instead of a biracial one. I'm sure I just missed that in history class.
Go ahead, convince me that his refusal to recognize his mother's white heritage is not racist in itself.
Of course the libs like to keep their definition of racist a secret. That way they can pull it out when there's nothing else to pull out.


Many politicians like to say that their opponent thinks 'your part of America is beneath them' with no regard for the truth of the statement.

I was thinking about how many email forwards I get about the evil ACLU taking 'under God' out of the pledge, thinking about how the pledge and our nation survived for 60 years without mentioning God, and then remembered the surrounding phrase - 'One nation, ..., indivisible'


There are people who will not vote for Obama because he is black from both parties. That is a sad and unfortunate occurrence in this day and age. But you aren't being straightforward about the link to Rich you provided where he makes this ballsy statement:

"As we saw first in the Democratic primary results and see now in the widespread revulsion at the McCain-Palin tactics, white Americans are not remotely the bigots the G.O.P. would have us believe."

It isn't the GOP trying to make people believe that, it is the snobby Left. When Palin speaks of the "real America" she isn't talking about white vs. black anymore than Obama was when he referred to those clinging to their guns and religion. It is a cultural division, not a racial one. Yet Rich tries to morph that into racial code words- which only proves my point about where the bigotry is really coming from, or at least the selling of bigotry.

Rich then writes of the conservatives "They see all Americans as only white or black, as either us or them". How is that any different than what is appearing on this blog right now with all of the condescending "Us, the smart ones" vs. "Them, the dumb ignorant Christian gun toting Republicans"? What Obama said in San Francisco was just as divisive as anything Palin said about "real America", actually more so because he was actually referring to a class of people in a highly condescending manner, whereas she was only referring to the city mouse/country mouse distinction, or flyover country if you will.

If America is divided, it isn't because one party says it is. It must be because there is a real division or we wouldn't see these close elections.

sean coon

i agree that there's a difference between being prejudice and being a racist.

my mental model is that the former is a passive form of ignorance while the latter is an active state. i mean, we're all prejudice to our experiences, influences, etc., but the same can't be said for racism. that state of being seems to be one wrapped in tangible deeds, moving beyond blinders and stepping into choice, with historically documented machinations of dehumanizing others through rhetoric, violence and/or rigging social constructs.

so could there be people voting for obama with racist proclivities? sure. but they're not of the same racist ilk that would say this, do this or rig this.


"Go ahead, convince me that his refusal to recognize his mother's white heritage is not racist in itself." -- Tony

Tony, my brother, this falls into the "I'm ignorant of it, so it must not be so" category. Read "The Audacity of Hope" if you are willing to have this notion disabused.

Also, you keep insisting Obama is not black. I'm not sure what point you are trying to make, but I am curious, when do you recognize someone as black? When they refer to themselves that way or do you have your own criteria? If the latter, please share.

sean coon

tony, the "single drop of black blood" reference is very real and very easy to find online.

if you're not being obtuse, what's the excuse?


Robin..i would ask this question..what in the hell is the GDMFCSSOB doing playing with explosives? Warts don't come from shit youre not suppose to handle going off in your face. If a fool wants to play with fire, get him a fire-proof room somewhere away from innocent people. Leader seekers use irrational models to qualify their prejudices and affections. Any person who seeks power over other people needs to be watched to make sure he keeps his genital warts to himself. A need to change or help the world is usually a mask to rule it.

David Hoggard

While I'm not dismissing all you say on the subject, Sam... but isn't the only instance of "...what is appearing on this blog right now with all of the condescending "Us, the smart ones" vs. "Them, the dumb ignorant Christian gun toting Republicans"."... the instance where you brought it up yourself @ 4:48p above?

I believe that many conflate all disagreements regarding racial matters with the ever-broadening label of "racist".

I grew up with, and still know, several true, 1958-style racist - 1958. No one here falls into that category and, I dare say, 97% of the people who will vote McCain/Palin aren't either. Prejudiced, maybe. Racist... hardly.


No Hoggard, that's not correct. It actually hails first from the Rich piece and some of the other comments and innuendo that follow.

Here is a question for the crowd:

Suppose that McCain was the black candidate and Obama was the white candidate and everything else in this campaign was exactly as it has been. Would the story and questions be different? Would "real America" as stated by Palin have a different meaning? Would "clinging to guns" etc, and the Bill Ayers stuff be different?

Think about that.


You McBama fans keep skirting the O'Bama citizenship issue. The one thing that would disqualify one candidate completely is kept stored in the dung heap. Get serious about your affections and prejudices and hold the men who take an oath to uphold the Constitution to the fire. Nothing else matters. McBama '08 is starting to look like a pissing contest between my grandmother and her live-in, shackrat, won't lift a damned finger to do nothing girlfriend.

sean coon

come on, seriously, narrow down your rhetorical flourish, spaghetti. picturing a black john mccain with a name more closely resembling hussein osama than john the baptist, all the while running on the GOP ticket, is making my brain melt.

aside from both comments being used as political fodder, what are you trying to say regarding their relationship to race?

"[...] the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation [...]"


[...] You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. [...]"

please. i'm just dyyyyiiiing to know.

Duke of Denton

Western Pennsyvania still has a black powder and bow season on people of color. O'Bama shouldn't go there between Oct 1st and Nov 31 unless he goes with Franco Harris. I am the Duke of Denton and I approved this message.


Sean, the fact that you found the first paragraph offensive in any way speaks volumes. The second part of the second paragraph from Obama is completely logically disconnected from the first which is why it is so condescending.

But back to the question- no problem. Let's say the GOP candidate is named Barack Hussein Obama, and the Democrat is named John McCain. Everything else is exactly the same. Would we be having this same conversation.

Duke of Denton

suppose that a white man scratched a backwards "M" into the face of a black person.... you couldnt tell if the "M" was backwards or not unless you looked at it in your rearview mirror thru the gunrack and stars and bars decal...if you turned the mirror upside down it would look like a "W" and cause a whole new different set of problems.... I am the Duke of Denton and I approved this message.

sean coon

it speaks volumes?

palin was touting her self-proclaimed political "pro" of being a former small town mayor. hey, i get it, she doesn't have that much to lean on. the problem wasn't the notion of her publicly recognizing familiar territory. if she had focused on the sentiment within "[...] the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit [...]" this wouldn't have played out the same. i completely understand that notion; i moved here from nyc to get away from the constant competition and congestion.

instead, palin continued on with "[...] these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation [...]" which pandered to the crowd by dissing people in other areas of america.

now, i know mccain isn't going to win NJ, NY, CA, etc. and i understand that palin doesn't understand why what comes out of her mouth is often taken the way that it is, but how can that not be taken as divisive?

obama, on the other hand, wasn't dissing anyone. he's been talking about the psychology of disenfranchised, small town, industry workers left at the side of the road since 2004. his interview with charlie rose back then provides clear context to his dreaded second part of the second paragraph as his attempt to provide solutions and not just more empty promises. whether he can or not is left to be seen.

so which one was politically twisted?

not to avoid anything, but your question (?) lives in bizzaro world and isn't founded within a direct thesis. i have no idea what exactly you're asking me to ponder -- from race to political statements to soft affiliations with a 40 years gone by domestic terrorist?

how do you suppose mccain and obama switching parties would impact this conversation?

Ian McDowell

Of course there are some racists who will vote for Obama because he's black; Skip Alston is presumably voting for him, and I consider Mr. Alston a racist, albeit a smarter and more charming one than his cracker sparring partner Billy Yow. And Skip might consider ME a racist, as I'm critical of the sense of entitlement pervasive in modern African-American discourse as well as many aspects of contemporary African-American pop culture (not that I'm terribly fond of contemporary redneck or "bro" pop culture either).

Yet just like Skip, I'll be voting for Obama, so I guess we'll be Racists-for-Obama together. I'm doing so partially because he's more intelligent, articulate, educated and level-headed than McCain, partially because McCain would, if he won, die in office and leave us with a president who believes in talking snakes and a 3,000 year old earth, and partially because Obama has risen above the posturing and grievance-pimping sadly typical of many (but not all) prominent African-American politicians and I want to encourage that.

Tony, ironically, is sounding more like a racist black man than a racist white one upstream, as by insisting that Obama "isn't really black" he reminds me of those African-Americans who felt that Obama wasn't "black enough." However, racist WHITES do pretty clearly consider him black enough to be called by the n-word (well, aside from the loonies who consider him an Arab and put "sand" in front of that word).

Take the troubling example of a friend of mine whose racist mass-forwarded email rants have given me pause. I've been cutting my friend some slack because he's not completely sane, as is understandable with someone was raped and set on fire (as it happens, by a black man) when he was a teenager, but if I get one more email from him calling Obama "nigger," it will be the end of our friendship.

And yes, the claim that Obama "refuses to acknowledge his mother's white heritage" is bullshit created by the white equivalents of Al Sharpton (only not as smart) and spread by their cretinous dupes who prefer to believe what they're told Obama says in THE AUDACITY OF HOPE rather than what he actually wrote.


How would being looked over by Bush/Clinton cause people to "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment".

Really what do religion and guns have to do with economic policy, and why would they have antipathy towards people who aren't like them? On what does he base this psychology? This was simple condescension at its worse- they vote Republican because they are too stupid to know better as evidenced by their religion and guns and of course we all know they are racists.

I don't see where you have made the case at all that referring to the heartland as "real America" and calling the people their "hard working" and "very patriotic" and very "pro America" is somehow code words for racism or even divisive. If you want the "real Nevada" do you go to Las Vegas?

Now will anyone address the question about role reversal? I'm beginning to think we know the answer.

sean coon

the one drop of blood thing has, obviously, been a bullshit way to classify race forever -- going back to some seriously racist times -- but to question it in play now, as if it hasn't existed for such nefarious reasons, is completely disingenuous.

as for skip being racist; i don't know him that well. his publicized actions, at times, do seem to be the worst of pandering to a base and stiff-arming others for personal profit, but not the actions of someone trying to dehumanize people of another race. IMO, that probably lives somewhere within in ed's continuum of racist > bigot > prejudice, but it's not my definition of "racist." similarly, a race huckster's perception of you, ian, as a racist doesn't mean much either. it's all noise signifying nothing.

now, whether someone considers a black panther, self-empowerment or similar "revolutionary" type voting for a black president after years of zero inclusion on that stage and considering the history of white on black racism in this country... well, i'll leave that wing of the conversation for someone else to pick up. i personally don't buy it, but our shoes all have different mileage.

Ed Cone

Tony Wilkins says, "I'd love a link or any type of direction to confirm the 'single drop' explanation you give above. I've searched and have been unable to obtain that information."

The terms "black single drop" yield numerous hits on Google, a popular search engine. For example, from a PBS site on the first page: "The nation's answer to the question 'Who is black?" has long been that a black is any person with any known African black ancestry. This definition reflects the long experience with slavery and later with Jim Crow segregation. In the South it became known as the 'one-drop rule,' meaning that a single drop of 'black blood' makes a person a black."

The terms "black one drop" also lead to many results. The very first of these is from Wikipedia, a popular reference site. It begins, "The one-drop rule is a historical colloquial term in the United States that holds that a person with any trace of African ancestry is considered black...It developed most strongly out of the binary culture of long years of institutionalized slavery."

Obama doesn't refuse to "recognize his mother's white heritage" -- he tells the story of his mother frequently, and uses her photographs, and photos of her parents, in his ads -- he merely lives in a culture that identifies him as "black."

sean coon

sam, watch the 2004 interview between obama and rose that i linked to. if your indignation doesn't dissipate, then you're being intellectually dishonest... which is fine. i'll still get my zzz's.

If you want the "real Nevada" do you go to Las Vegas?

this "real" question you're positing is completely based in subjectivity, which is why palin's statement -- someone running for federal office -- comes off as pandering and divisive. this is the subtext i hear:

"we all know that "those big city folk" vote for fancy people who graduate with honors on time and those people who do all that voting make too much money to pause to serve their country"

when in fact *many* people from urban environments serve and die for their country, as if that's even the only way to be patriotic.

is that really so hard to understand? riddle me this: would she use the same language -- pro-nevada, real nevada -- stumping in a small town in nevada if she were running for the governor of the state? my answer would be, sure, if the big cities and urban sophisticates of the state consistently voted against her party. why not? gotta rally the people around something when the party has failed them consistently on the issues.

and your role reversal situation still isn't a question. ask a specific question and you'll probably get a specific answer.

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