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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A Train Wreck of a Debate

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It's certain he lost support with women, especially in the suburbs. One of the follow-up commentaries was that it was like driving down the freeway with an 8-year-old having a tantrum in the backseat.

One More Blow to the Traditions of Democracy

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This debate will be remembered as Trump v. Wallace. That takes the focus away from Biden's message and (as usual) makes the evening All About Trump. That's a mistake, since Trump is trying to make it a choice election (Trump or Biden) not about Trump's performance and personality.

A Spectacle

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I imagine Trump's hard-core base enjoyed seeing Trump do his thing, which in this case was to display dominance behavior as best he could over Biden and Wallace. He was in his game, but he didn't knock Biden off his game.

A Presidential “Debate” like No Other

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How a decent man like Joe Biden weathered the 90 minutes deserves a medal. I felt for Chris Wallace, knowing that I would not have been able to take control of Donald Trump, either.

Biden Didn’t Win, But Trump Lost

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Before the debate started, I posted in a Facebook group I participate in, “I would give close to even odds that a fistfight will break out between Trump and Biden. (I hope so!) And better than even odds that the debate will devolve into a race to incoherence.” That is more or less what happened. Disappointing, but not a surprise.

A Shit Show

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Let’s not do this again. Biden caught on early and laughed at Trump. “Will you shut up, man?” “Would you tell him to shush?”His best line: “It is what it is, and you are what you are.” Otherwise all farce. Trump ridiculous and nasty, Biden steady and sane despite it all.

Raging and Interrupting

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So Biden looks like he reaches the people and Trump at best is sending messages only to his base.

Disturbing and Bullying

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The pundits are predictably divided, with prominent Democrats expressing shame at the caustic disunity on display to a world worried about the future of America's democracy.

There was no “Both Sides” in this Debate

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Biden was mostly playing defense. When he said to the President, “Will you shut up!” it was, sadly, the best line of the night.

Big Political Shifts in the Fight for Police Accountability

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Seattle reformers have lost patience with city hall and now are shifting their energies to Olympia. The reason is the long sidelining of true accountability reforms by Seattle politicians.

The Tough Get Going: Will Mayor Durkan Stand for Re-election?

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The background to Jenny Durkan’s choices offers a distant mirror dating back a half-century, and might indicate how the Mayor will make her decision whether to seek a second term.

Don’t Pack the Supreme Court. There’s A Better Way to Fix It

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“We add three justices—next time around we lose control, they add three justices,” Biden said at a primary debate last October. “We begin to lose any credibility…the court has at all.”

City Council Showdown: Mayor’s Budget Veto Overturned

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The good news is that there is now a balanced 2020 budget again. The bad news is that problems still remain.

Now it can be Told: Trump’s America-First is a Big Bust

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The end of the cold war, and the painful Mideast wars which followed 9/11, caused many to question America’s defense and foreign policy, but now we have enough information to indicate that America First isolationism makes the world a more dangerous place.

Coming Wednesday: Will Court Certify Sawant Recall?

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For her part, Sawant argues that the petition does not meet factual and legal sufficiency and should be dismissed in its entirety.

If Trump Wins…

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Trump probably cannot spell “authoritarianism,” much less define it. But he has the instincts of a wannabe Duce, and he has been running the authoritarian playbook since he took office.

Trump’s Chumps: The Voters Who Could Be Left in the Lurch If Biden Wins

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What went wrong? Trump went wrong. He built his constituency but then he couldn't build on it.

The Power of “San Francisco Democrats” and the West

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The “Left Coast” has been a center of resistance to the Trump administration, on matters ranging from immigrant rights to vehicle fuel efficiency standards. California and Washington have filed or joined in more than 170 lawsuits.

Trump Is Abusing His Office. It’s Less Clear How Many Laws He Is Breaking

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Don’t bet a lot of money on the feds. "They do not have a legal leg to stand on," says Tom Wolfe, a senior attorney at NYU law school's Brennan Center for Justice. "It's going to be very difficult for any court to rule in favor of the Trump administration."

Time To Revisit The Way We Elect Seattle City Councilmembers?

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The reform was supposed to reduce the cost of campaigns. Fat chance. In the 2015 elections, total spending on the seven seats was $785,000. By 2019, expenditures ballooned to $4.2 million. The big difference was partly due to public funds, but mostly due to independent expenditures that were not capped in any way. Political action committees could spend heavily -- and spend they did.

Remembering the Days When Elections Were Marked By Collegial, Bipartisan Cooperation

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Regardless of whether the offices on the ballot were partisan or non-partisan, I would meet with the the Republican and Democratic county chairpersons, always collegial and cooperative, to insure we had sufficient bi-partisan volunteers to be on duty election day.

Power Ranking: What Will Washington’s Delegation Look Like in a Democratic Congress?

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The old delegation cohesion is history. The rivalry between Berniecrats and “corporate Democrats” (as they're known on the left) is likely to go on.. But there is power in the delegation from this Washington, sure to be unlocked if Democrats control Congress.

Worried: Are Protests Driving Voters toTrump?

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In recent months many have quoted Martin Luther King Jr. to the effect that, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Yes, there’s truth in that. But the language of the unheard, if that’s what this is, is being heard loud and clear by many Americans and applauded by Donald Trump as their best hope.

How Ranked Choice Voting can Disrupt Clown-Car Elections

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How to turn a clown race into a process where each vote matters — even with so many candidates? More importantly, in such a crowded field, how do we avoid electing a clown whom a majority of voters really don't want? The state's current election system can't prevent it.

Riposte to Peggy Noonan: Did you Watch the Same Convention I did?

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Much of that convention agenda was directed straight at the people Noonan said the Democrats had been ignoring—those fearing foreclosures, a second wave of COVID, no schools, more shutdowns, job losses, and food shortages. Has Trump shown the slightest interest in such people? Does he have any plan to help them? I haven’t heard it.

The Case for a Humble ‘Custodian’ as President

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Time and trial have given us not just a seasoned politician, but a seasoned human being. I don’t pick up much ego from either Joe or Jill. There’s a job to be done and Joe hopes, with a lot of help, to do it. His age and experience — potential lemons — have been turned into lemonade.

Alaska Thaw… And A Political Earthquake?

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Political life in Alaska has long put it all together:  Pungent personalities, corruption scandals, enduring family feuds,...

Revenge of the “Nasty” Women: We Vote!

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But if 2018 was the Year of the Woman, there are signs that 2020 could be an even bigger year for women and for diversity. Some 243 women -- 169 Democrats and 74 Republicans -- have won primaries and are competing for congressional seats this fall.

Blame Game: An End to Bipartisan Foreign Policy

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For the Democrats at the national conventions, Russia is the target, since it implicates Trump. For the GOP, it's China, since it implicates the Bidens.

Success of US-Brokered Middle East Plan Depends on Dubious Expectations

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“Instead of making peace between Israel and the Palestinians, (Trump) is making peace around the Palestinians.” -- former State Department policy planning director Anne-Marie Slaughter on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday.