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Essays and opinion pieces from our hosts and listeners involving American politics touching on current events, politics, history, and the like.

Democrats Must Move to the Center…the 21st Century Center

by D.J. McGuire

Amidst the whirl and rush of Trump’s G-20 visit to Hamburg, Mark Penn and Andrew Stein placed on Op-Ed in the New York Times calling on the Democratic Party to “move to the center and reject the siren calls of the left.” As a self-described conservative Democrat, I am happy to read that. Unfortunately, the rest of the column is  a hodgepodge of 1990s-era sloganeering and talk of how to “win working-class voters back” – when said working-class voters (the ones who left) didn’t vote for Trump and for Democrats, but rather for straight Republican tickets. For Democrats to truly come to the center, they need to know what the center is now, and rather than white working-class Trump voters who have the zealotry of converts, the party needs to look to suburban Republicans leery of Trump and 2016 Libertarian voters.

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Why I AM a Democrat

by D.J. McGuire

In reading Bruce Bartlett’s compressed autobiography-turned-advice column, I couldn’t help but feel the old supply-side economist had, for the most part, been just a few steps ahead of me. My dissolution with President Bush the Younger came a few years after his 2005 broadside against same (although I dimly recall even then considering his critique having merit), and of course, I left the Republican Party in the last year of the Obama Administration, rather than its beginning. I’ve even felt the liberation of sloughing off the political orthodoxy that comes with partisan tribalism.

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The Day I Almost Became Philando Castile

by Kevin Kelton

In the wake of recent news stories about the police shooting death of Philando Castile, More Perfect Union cohost Kevin Kelton shares his own story of being pulled over gunpoint by the LAPD. Luckily, he’s still here to tell it. Which is why it’s valuable.

In 1990, back in my long hair and bearded days, I was driving on a major street in Los Angeles on a sunny Saturday afternoon, when I hear a siren behind me and see flashing police lights. Assuming I’m about to be ticketed, I pull over and keep my hands on the steering wheel as I’d heard you should do. It’s just a traffic stop, right? No big deal.
 
That’s when I hear, over a loud speaker, “Put your hands on your head and don’t move!”
 
So I do, then I look in my mirrors and see not one, but three LAPD cars with six cops all crouched behind their open doors while pointing handguns and shotguns at me. Like I was a bank robber. Of course now I’m scared sh**less because it was the first (and only) time I have ever had guns pointed at me. Naturally I’m going to do whatever they say.

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On Health Care Reform (Which is NOT Being Offered by Washington Republicans)

by D.J. McGuire

So, the Senate Republicans have, at long last, graced us with their plans for “health care reform” – quotes used because it isn’t health care reform. At best, it’s an attempt at health insurance reform much like “Obamacare,” which was corporatized health insurance cleverly disguised as socialized medicine. Regarding “Obamacare” – or, as I call it, the Patently Deficient and Unaffordably Careless Act – Congressional Republicans are far closer to Rinse and Repeat than Repeal and Replace.

Regarding actual health care reform, Washington would be best served doing what they could to increase health care supply. In that spirit, I present the following ideas (below the break).

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About Last Night’s Special Elections

by D.J. McGuire

“The people have spoken…the bastards.” – Richard Tuck, defeated candidate for California State Senate, 1966

Democrats will instinctively feel forlorn about their defeat in Georgia’s Congressional special election. They shouldn’t, although there are lessons to be learned.

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Democrats Can “Save the World” AND Save Tax Reform

by D.J. McGuire

Republican division and incompetence has opened a door for Democrats to have a say on tax reform this year. If they play their cards right, they can move America past the Paris Accord kerfuffle and strike a serious blow for carbon reduction – and even get the GOP to thank them for it! The question is: do the Democrats in Washington even know how to play the hand they’ve been dealt?

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Democrats Need to Make the Political Case Against Trump’s Russia Policy

by D.J. McGuire

“It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder.” – Joseph Fouché, Chief of Police for Napoleon (though often misattributed to Talleyrand)

For Democrats, the case against Donald Trump is so personal that we risk losing or not gaining support that would otherwise naturally be ours. There is, sadly, no other plausible explanation for the party’s overemphasis on finding legal grounds to remove him from office to the detriment of building a policy case against his affinity for Vladimir Putin.

This is not to say the legal issue stirred up by accusations of collusion between Trump for President and the Kremlin should be ignored, but I think my new-ish party can – and indeed, must – walk and chew gum at the same time. We need to ensure voters – especially Republican voters – understand the inherent danger Putin’s regime poses to American interests, to the democratic world as a whole, and to human rights. Otherwise, there is a great risk that Trump will survive, be re-elected, and do incalculable damage to the matters above. Read More

Russia-gate Harkens Back to the Bygone Days of Benghazi-gate

by Kevin Kelton

For Americans over 19, today’s “Russia-gate” headlines harken back to a bygone era of the 2015 “Benghazi-gate” scandal and a time of hot yoga, iPhone Sixes, John Green novels, and a guy named “Jeb!” captured the hearts of dark money donors everywhere.

Hard as it is to believe, it’s been almost two years since the email scandal and “Benghazi” hearings that so closely echo the Russian election tampering news of today. But for Americans who were born then, the similarities are eery.

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I’m watching my former Party devolve before my eyes

by D.J. McGuire

The title of this post comes – literally, word for word, from a lament of mine on Facebook as I gauge the reaction from Republicans to the Trump revelations.

For those unaware, I was active in the Republican Party for over 25 years: in College Republicans, as a campaign volunteer, as a precinct captain, and a party leader in a local district. I even ran for local office as a Republican nominee in 2009. So I know the game.

What I cannot understand is how few, if any, of my former party are willing to criticize Trump – at all.

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The Fault Lies In Ourselves

by Kevin Kelton

While we watch the slow, painful destruction of our political system, we should take a moment to reflect that we did this to ourselves. Every one of us. We bought into the politics of hate. We bought into the politics of cults. We devoured negative ads and delighted in dirty, underhanded campaigns. (This goes for the liberals as well.) We believed the worst in our candidates and pilloried them for being human. We gave ratings to hate. We rewarded crassness and punished civility.

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To What Standard Do We Hold Presidents?

by Rebekah Chodoff Kuschmider

It was 1998. I was a 25 year old liberal. President Clinton, the first president I had ever voted for, was embroiled in an investigation and an impeachment proceeding that was about perjury and obstruction of justice and adultery and real estate and some thread of thick contempt for an arrogant man with a southern accent and not enough Washington gravitas.

I was of the “It’s just a blow job! Chill” school of thought. What was the big deal? He had affairs, he lied about them, a million other people have done the same.

Then someone pointed something out to me: adultery is against the military code of conduct and can result in disciplinary action. Bill Clinton, as president, was Commander in Chief of the military. Why should he not be held to the same standards of behavior as the rank and file?

It was a good question. One I have never forgotten. To what standard do we hold the president? Should it be higher or lower than the standard to which we hold others? Read More

On Donald Trump’s Alarming Weakness on Communist China

By D.J. McGuire

For those of us who look with a wary eye across the Pacific Ocean to the Chinese Communist regime, Donald Trump was something of a wild card in the presidential campaign of last year. His rank protectionism included harsh words against the Beijing cadres, but he also ripped the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal involving nearly all the democracies in Eastern Asia that would have been a geopolitical bulwark against Zhongnanhai (Beijing’s equivalent of the Kremlin). Add in his mixed bag on military and geopolitical policies (stronger defense countering his threats to withdraw from Japanese bases), and no one was really sure what we’d get.

Four months in, we have a better idea of Trump’s deviations from the standard “engagement” policy of that is a favorite of the establishment wings of both major parties. If anything, Trump is more willing to appease the “ChiComs” than any of his post-Tiananmen-massacre predecessors. Zhongnanhai is taking advantage, to the peril of the democratic world.

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