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Knock On Doors Canvass

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AUTHORITARIANISM IN CUBA - 

AND OUR COUNTRY

What is the difference between a far-left authoritarian regime and a far-right authoritarian regime – like the one Trump and his Republican acolytes are trying to inflict on us? 

  

First, let’s see how authoritarianism oppresses the Cuban people: 

  • Controls the press and the internet to prevent the public from accessing information that has not been sanctioned by the rulers. 

 

  • Directs all wealth and privilege to supporters of the ruling group. 

 

  • Rigs elections so there is only one outcome. 

 

  • Harnesses the judiciary to enforce the ruling group’s power rather than independently check the legality of its actions. 

 

  • Mismanages the economy and general workings of the country.

Now, how Trump and his supporters shove our country away from democracy for the people:

  • Accuse the press of “fake news,” spy on journalists who are critical, and create a “state-sanctioned” source of information in Fox News.

  • Reward an in-group of wealthy patrons via crony appointments, tax policies, and roll-backs of environmental and labor regulations to promote privileged groups.

 

  • Attempt to abolish Obamacare, thwart the expansion of Medicaid, try to slash Medicare, and downplay the severity of a pandemic that cost the public billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives.

 

  • Stir up hatred of the “other” by creating divisive factions and paralyzing governance.

 

  • Refuse to accept legal election results, promote “the steal of the election,” and hinder the ability of opposition groups to vote freely.

 

  • Politicize functions like Attorney General and the judicial system that were designed to be independent.

When you examine the characteristics of the Cuban versus the Trumpian regimes, their similarities are horrifyingly clear. But let’s remember that the threat isn’t confined to one man. Too many Americans fail to question politicians’ stances that are frighteningly authoritarian. Those of us who believe firmly in democracy must insist that it prevail. We must register more voters, pressure elected officials, and vet candidates who will work for freedom.

Alan Sprintz

Board Member

Longboat Key Democratic Club

HISTORY HAS ITS EYES ON US.

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We’ve seen a force that would shatter our

     nation rather than share it,

Would destroy our country if it meant

     delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically

     delayed,

It can never be permanently defeated.

 

In this truth, in this faith, we trust.

For while we have our eyes on the future,

History has its eyes on us.

 

– Amanda Gorman, The Hill We ClImb

An Inaugural Poem For the Country

DESANTIS ATTACKS FEDERALISM

Cordiality between President Joe Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis in the context of the Surfside condominium tragedy masked the Florida Republican leadership’s assault on federalism.

 

Florida’s new law, effective July 1, criminally punishing cruise lines (and others) who ask customers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, confronts federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to control the virus. 

 

DeSantis’ dispatch of 50 Florida law enforcement officers to the Texas-Mexico border conflicts with federal immigration administration.

 

Both actions reflect DeSantis’ initiatives to embrace and exploit the support of the Trumpers among us, to the detriment of Florida’s $8 billion a year cruise industry revenue and safety risk to the public at large.

 

In private law practice, as a judge and as an Air Force judge advocate, I had long understood that under the U.S. Constitution and case law, federal law preempts state law and action in the exercise of maritime and immigration authority.



To combat political grandstanding and the implication that Florida Republicans can with impunity maintain their secessionist agenda, the Biden administration needs to intervene – by regulation, the bully pulpit and in court – on behalf of the United States, Floridians in particular.

Marvin Morse

Former President

Longboat Key Democratic Club

As published in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Letter to Editor, July 8, 2021

"TRAGIC." 
SUPREME COURT
TRASHES VOTING RIGHTS

In an ominous 6-3 decision, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s new voting restrictions that effectively reduce voting access for certain minorities.

 

 

This decision hits right as the Department of Justice (DOJ) takes aim at a new law in Georgia that makes it more difficult for selected (Democrat-leaning) groups of people (of color) to vote.  Now the high court decision makes this case far more difficult to argue, undermining the DOJ’s worthy efforts to undo restrictive new voting rules in multiple states – including Florida. Yet another broad-reaching body blow has been delivered to democracy in America.

 

The Arizona law bars anyone but a family member or a caregiver from dropping off a mail-in ballot to a mailbox or voting location. And it rejects any vote cast in error at the wrong precinct (most often a problem in transient urban populations). We all know that these provisions will disproportionately impact people of color. In close races, they can easily impact election outcomes.

 

In Arizona, 80% of ballots are cast by mail. Black, Latino, and particularly Native American voters who live in rural areas – where voting stations, mailboxes, and public transportation are all limited – will have significantly more difficulty voting.  For instance, the Tohono O’odham Reservation, which covers an area as big as Rhode Island and Delaware combined, has only one post office and no home delivery. Voters in such rural, underserved areas must depend on friends or volunteers to deliver their mail-in ballots so that their votes can be counted.

 

We find it ironic that the majority decision claims it cannot be shown that the new law is purposely discriminatory – even if it disproportionately impacts certain groups of citizens more than others! The decision even uses the “Big Lie” in its statement that “fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots that carry appropriate weight.”  And in another ironic statement, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich applauded the decision, stating, “Fair elections are the cornerstone of our republic and they start with rational laws that protect both the right to vote and the accuracy of results.”

 

In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan called the decision “tragic” because it so drastically undercuts the intended protections of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

 

So what now?  Grassroots organizations like this Democratic Club must wield every tool available to convince our representatives in Congress to overcome the filibuster and, as President Biden has urged, "restore the Voting Rights Act to its intended strength." 

 

We must work hard to help people exercise their right to vote!

Andrea Zucker

Board Member

Longboat Key Democratic Club

WISDOM FOUND

IN NEWSPAPER EDITORIALS

The Gainesville Sun editorial, “Hiding History Is Not the Way to Teach It,” that ran in the Herald-Tribune on May 30 is disturbing. Its premise of restricting the teaching of history by our state leadership deserves attention.

 

Our state newspaper editorial boards, including the Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times, Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Palm Beach Post, have taken strong and important positions on controversial subjects such as voting rights, climate and environmental responsibility, vaccination favoritism, and freedom of speech, most of which do not resonate with our state and local leaders.

 

My sense is that these newspaper editorial boards represent the most informed and talented individuals in our communities and this combined wisdom should be shared and listened to by our elected leaders.

 

More importantly, why aren’t our citizen readers listening as well? An informed and responsible citizenry is the hallmark of our democracy.

 

Kenneth J. Newmark

Member

Longboat Key Democratic Club

As published in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Letter to Editor, June 2, 2021

VOTER RESTRICTIONS 

IMPINGE ON FREEDOM

This nation was born with the fervent anthem of “no taxation without representation.” Over a million of our fellow Americans have given their lives, their bodies and minds to preserve our right to vote, the very essence of our freedom.

 

The passage of Florida’s current voter restriction law, denying and making the exercise of our right to vote more difficult is handing a victory to the Nazis and others of that ilk (“DeSantis signs controversial election law with an eye toward 2022 election,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, May 6).

 

It is an insult to the memory of those Americans who died or were maimed defending our voting rights.

 

We, the electorate, must remember who voted to undermine the terrible sacrifices of our fellow patriots. Exercise your right to vote, and let’s get rid of those who have chosen party over freedom.



Evans Tilles

Board Member

Longboat Key Democratic Club

As published in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Letter to Editor, May 8, 2021

THE CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTION: 
CAN WE ACHIEVE IT?

If you’re concerned about the life-threatening issue of climate change, we urge you to view our recent online event featuring Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts.
 

Armed with studies, figures, and facts, Professor Pollin confirmed what we all know: we are courting drastic ecological disaster. Citing data from highly respected international sources that have not been credibly disputed, he asserts the need to stabilize the global mean temperature by increasing energy efficiency and eliminating fossil fuels.
If we do not, we will bring on even worse heat extremes, flooding, droughts, sea level rises, and biodiversity losses – plus the devastating impacts on health, livelihoods, food security, and water supply.

 

The Green New Deal, Professor Pollin illustrates, is a highly compelling plan that can actually save our planet. In detail, he explains why – if we make a concerted effort to implement its measures on a wide enough scale – we can also create jobs and business opportunities, raise mass living standards, and fight global poverty.
View the presentation
here.