Was the Recall the Final Nail in the Coffin of the Republican Party Here in California?

The numbers for the recall election of this past Tuesday are in, 9.5 million ballots counted so far. California's Secretary of State reported that 2.9 million ballots still need to be counted. Approximately 55% of registered voters voted, a smaller turnout than in 2018 when 64% voted for the regular gubernatorial election.

Political experts have already begun slicing and dicing the election results and what it means for the Republican Party. The GOP has been fighting against their extinction since the late 1990s. Of all registered voters in California, 47% are Democrats, 24% are Republicans, and 23% want no association with neither party.

Republicans, after many tries, succeeded in making the recall a reality. Nonetheless, they lacked the resources, and the candidate who rose to the top was the best thing that had happened to Governor Newsom since hair gel was invented. Elder made it easier for Democrats to create a narrative of fear about "Trumpism" and those right-wing activists against COVID-19 vaccination and masks.

Once Larry Elder emerged among the forty-six candidates. So did his background. Elder's outlandish claims and his provocative on-air commentaries he had made over the years were scrutinized—moderate voters who were entertaining new leadership checked out.

Larry elder's controversial candidacy undermined the needed conversation about all the problems facing the people in California. Yes, those unemployed individuals who call daily to the unemployment office and never get an answer; the lack of affordable housing, the problems of education, and the profound inequalities never took center stage during this recall.

What is next for Republicans in California?

In mid-August, most republicans thought that people in California had started awaking to this one-party rule in the state and wanted to throw the bums out. Polls showed that voters in the state wanted a new leader.

One might have thought that this recall election was an opportunity for Republicans here in California. They needed to coalesce around a candidate and raise the money to succeed. They did neither.

It is a big predicament for Republicans who want to bring the GOP back to competitiveness in electoral politics here in this state. What makes the GOP's "populist" base excited or enthusiastic is what turns off moderate voters in this state. Controversial Larry Elder utterly encapsulated this GOP's problem in this past recall.

The challenge for Republicans in California if they want to stay competitive is to find a way to excite their base and then reach out to moderate voters. If they cannot go beyond their base, then this party will eventually perish. Coalition building needed to win election escapes California's GOP's leadership.

The most moderate wing of California's GOP, the ones who are more interested in business-friendly policies, have so much work to do. They should go to work, take over the party and change the mainstream image. They should also make the efforts to be more inclusive and make this party the party of Reagan again. Former San Diego Mayor, Kevin Faulconer a moderate with actual political experience, might persuade the independents in the state and democrats who are not satisfied with the status quo.

Who are these so-called "populists" or "right-wing conservatives" Republicans?

They are cultural war warriors who have no respect for government institutions, do not care about the "truth," and suspect the electoral system; they are anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-abortion rights. They are primarily whites who feel left out and under attack. Furthermore, they also believe in conspiracy theories. They see government institutions being used against them. They feel threatened by the relentless demographic and cultural changes.

There is so much work to do for California Republicans if they want to get back in the game. For a coherent and clearly articulated strategy, serious Republican leadership is needed. Otherwise, they will not be able to pull from the brink of absolute irrelevance. Voters in California will never vote for Republican candidates who dislike gays, immigrants, see women as lacking intelligence, and would like to stop abortion rights.

For starters, California's GOP should look into what has been done in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Vermont. These are blue states who have elected Republican governors. A common theme among these Republicans governing these three states is that they have spoken against Trump and rejected Trump's supporters' "ethnonationalism."

Pundits argue that there is hope for the GOP here in California. They need leaders with the ability to seize opportunities. They point out the progressive propositions rejected in 2020. Yes, voters rejected affirmative action, Rent Control, and a proposition that would force Uber-Lyft, and other companies to treat workers as employees rather than independent contractors. Even when all democratic leaders and organized labor folks spent millions, voters said no.

Some history here, California started changing demographically in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In addition, the state was going through a very painful recession. Republican voters did not like the massive newcomers mostly coming from civil war conflicts in Central America. The end of the cold war had also left many Californians unemployed. The future looked bleak for many Californians. Soon, Republican leaders began proposing harsh anti-immigrant policy proposals.

Democrats, too, joined the choir of those blaming immigrants for all California's problems. They took driver's licenses away from undocumented immigrants. In 1993 Senate Bill 976 was introduced by State Democrat Senator Al Alquist. The bill demanded that all driver license applicants provide proof of citizenship. In fighting for his political life, Governor Wilson signed the bill and ended undocumented people's ability to get a driver's license.

Democracies work a lot better when there is competition. The Democratic Party controls both houses in the state legislature, the governor's mansion, and all constitutional offices. There is no accountability. We have seen how our institutions have started deteriorating everywhere we look.

We often heard during the recall Democratic leaders crying foul for the $270 million spent on the election. However, these very same leaders did not say much about the $30 billion that the unemployment office paid to fraudulent claims. What insurmountable incompetence. That was serious money that could have been invested in our roads and freeways that are crumbling up.

When one party controls all sectors of government, there is no accountability. There is no impetus for the ruling party to solve problems. They know that voters have no place to go. They will never vote for the "white supremacist republicans."

Finally, voters can continue using a direct democracy-recall tool against the excesses of the ruling party in California. Voters can also "vote with their feet." Meaning moving out of the state, which some of them have done. Yes, California's population has gone down, and the state is losing a congressional seat.

Thank you for reading,

Chamba Sanchez
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Photo Credit: The picture was purchased from Bigstock

Sources consulted.
"Some lessons for the right in California."Editorial.  Los Angeles Daily News 16 Sept. 2021.
Christopher, Ben. "And the winner in the California recall is?  None of the above."  CalMatters 16 Sept. 2021.
Golberg, Jonah. "I’m opposed to recalls. But what choice do voters have when there’s one-party rule?."  Los Angeles Times 6 July 2021.
"How The California Recall Election Will Affect The Republican Party." Morning Edition. NPR 16 Sept. 2021. Radio.
Willon, Phil, Taryn Luna, and Julia Wick.  "Race was seen as battle against far-right."  Los Angeles Times 15 Sept. 2021.


Reinventing "Single-Family Zoning"

California, a state with a $3.2 trillion economy, has a $215 billion annual budget is mired in a housing affordability crisis. Its leaders cant' figure out how to build more housing for everyone. Cities throughout the state face homelessness crises of biblical proportions. In Los Angeles, tents on sidewalks are everywhere. They have become a permanent fixture of this city.

According to a 2016 study by McKinsey Global Institute, California needs to build 3.5 million new homes by 2025. That was five years ago; California probably needs five million housing units today. Governor Newsom promised to build 180,000 a year. His administration just built a fraction of what was promised and needed.

Sacramento politicians have been paying lip service to this housing crisis for the last two decades. This year, the call for action in the state capitol has been louder and more urgent.

This past Friday-Sept. 10, the legislature in Sacramento finished their work for the year. The Democrat-controlled Legislature passed hundreds of bills. These bills are now on their way to the Governor's desk. SB 9, SB 10, SB 478, and AB 215, bills addressing the housing crisis, were among these bills. If the Governor signs them, density will increase and environmental rules will be relaxed.

Today, a day before the recall election, the Governor has yet to weigh in on whether or not he will sign them. It is safe to say that Governor will wait after the recall election to decide on these crucial bills. Even if he lost tomorrow-Tuesday, the Governor would still be able to sign these housing bills.

Other options are available to the political leadership in Sacramento in dealing with this housing crisis. For starters, our leaders need to revisit the Costa-Hawkins law. Cities need to be given the tools to enact more rent control laws for the poor. And, while they are at it, the state legislature should also look into the Ellis Act, which gives free reigns to landlords to "evict tenants to remove housing units from the rental market." And that Article 34 in the California Constitution that requires a vote to approve public housing must be repealed.  It was added back in the 1950s.  It is alleged that whites used it to keep minorities out of their communities.

And yes, take a look at CEQA- the California Environmental Quality Act created to reduce the environmental effect on public projects. Groups that fiercely oppose development aiming at building multifamily or low-income housing use this act to derail them. If civic and other California leaders are serious about making significant progress in housing development, they must ensure that all affordable housing projects are exempt from CEQA.

Policy proposals to build affordable housing are always met with fear resistance. The point of contention has always been "single-family zoning." Homeowners and city government groups do not want to alter their qualities of life in their communities. They feel that modifying "single-family zoning" by encouraging property owners to subdivide their lots will negatively change their community's quality of life and character.

Politicians in Sacramento are very receptive to these suburban voters' demands. They see their single homes as "politically sacrosanct." These groups' opposition is fierce and bills introduced in committees seeking to alter "single-family homes" are rapidly killed in these committees led by spineless democrats who usually capitulate to these groups.

California's legislature should also explore policies that could provide subsidies to the poor. Market rate units are out of reach for many low-income families in the state. Of course, we need to build more housing, but mixed-income housing needs to be prioritized. In Los Angeles, most construction sites are building luxury housing. It is naive to think that we will be able to build our way out of the affordable housing crisis by building housing for the rich.

Senate Bill 9, introduced by the State Senate Leader, Tony Atkins, will bring needed changes. All the time-consuming and expensive bureaucratic hearings and approval from local governments will no longer be needed. If SB 9 and Governor signs it into law, homeowners will be able to build a duplex on single-family lots or split them." Housing for the poor and rental units will be exempt from the changes sought in this legislation.

The measure is modest enough to get the support needed. Homeowner groups and local government groups will never allow radical changes. As it is, they are already claiming that the measure will end "single-family zoning."

Many municipalities have already rung the alarm bells and are gearing up for this fight. They don' want this process to be centralized in Sacramento. Municipal leaders argue that they are close to housing problems; hence, they better understand what needs to be done locally. Municipalities that reject SB 9 would like to see real investments in public infrastructure and other services before dismantling "single-family zoning."

If SB 9 sees the light of day, it will significantly change whatever is in place for the city's single-family residential zoning districts. Many people claim that SB 9 is a successor of SB 50, that controversial bill killed by the "not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) activist." This proposed bill will allow development at a density and intensity of whatever is acceptable under the law today.  Of course, SB 9 is not perfect.

Moreover, SB 10, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener, increases density near transit centers and job hubs. SB 10, as it is, will allow a maximum of 10 units per parcel. The selling point here is that when cities build housing near public transit, it will eventually result in people using public transportation rather than driving their cars, helping to reduce climate change.

Finally, one might think that in light of all the profound lack of housing and homelessness crisis here in Los Angeles, LA's representatives in the state legislature will be shepherding bills with aggressive efforts that would alleviate this housing crisis. Carrillo, Durazo, Santiago, and others just do the bare minimum in dealing with this crisis. SB 51 authored by Carrillo and Durazo was great, but more comprehensive legislation that will include more communities is needed.

Californians are tired of the usual platitudes about California's forward-thinking companies and the state being on the cutting edge of racial and economic justice. They want our leaders to stop the grandiose speeches and tackle this housing crisis head-on.

Thank you for reading.

 

Chamba Sanchez

 


Photo Credit: The picture used intros piece was purchased from Bigstock

Sources Consulted.
Evans, Pat "16 mind-blowing facts about California's economy." Market Insiders 26 April 2019.
Dougherty, Conor. "After Years of Failure, California Lawmakers Pave the Way for More Housing." The New York Times 26 August 2021.
Duara, Nigel. ".  Could these bills help California build more affordable housing?" Cal Matters 23 March 2021.
Gross, Larry. "2019: Another Year of Displacement of Displacement & Demolitions Due to the Ellis Act." City Watch 20 January 2020.
Rosalsky, Greg. "How California Homelessness Became A Crisis." NPR.org 8 June, 2021.
Woetzel, Jonathan and Jan Mischke, Shennon Peloquin, and Daniel Weisfield. "A Tool Kit to Close California's Housing Gap:  3.5 Million Homes by 2025. McKinsey Global Institute October 2016.


The End of Roe

From L.A. to Boston to New York, the pro-choice folks are up in arms denouncing the Texas legislature's assault on women's rights. However, abortion is still legal in Texas if it is performed within six weeks of a woman's pregnancy. The so-called "Texas Heartbeat Act" was a victory for the pro-life groups in this country who want to end abortions. These pro-life groups see the Texas legislation and the denial of the Supreme Court to stop it as the beginning of the end of Roe vs. Wade.

Texas has provoked an uproar that even President Biden joined the chorus of those denouncing the law.  He denounced the Texas law as an utter constitutional violation of women's Constitutional rights. The President called it "extreme." Furthermore, Speaker Nancy Pelosi promises swift action on the House of Representatives. The speaker intends to "codify" Roe v. Wade so that states cannot modify it or touch it.

Roe v. Wade Landmark case of 1973 gave the Constitutional right to women to have abortions until a fetus is viable, which usually takes place at the 23rd or 24th week of pregnancy.

Viability is the central point of contention after the Texas legislature cut the number of weeks of pregnancy to six. It is simply the question of where life begins. Human embryologists, philosophers, bioethicists, and theologians are getting ready to revisit the unending debate of when a fetus becomes a person, "does that take place at fertilization, at birth, or somewhere in between?"

The pundits and Constitutional Scholars argue that the Texas law is just about procedures and not a wholesale elimination of rights for women seeking to have an abortion. That might be true, but progressives fret about the collateral effect of this law. The law provides impetus to other states to enact something similar or more extreme.

Let us dive into what happened in Texas this week: In May, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 8. The Act went into effect at midnight on September 1, 2021.

In the early hours of Sept. 2-Thursday morning, the US Supreme Court gave a low blow to pro-choice groups by denying an appeal that would have put a hold on the legislation enacted into law. Many read this Supreme Court's action as a strong signal that the demise of Roe v. Wade is near. It is argued that at least 80% of all abortion clinics in Texas will have to close soon if this law is fully implemented.

Texas' "Heartbeat Act" encourages anyone to sue doctors who violate the law, even if individuals have no connections to the woman having the abortion. A thoughtful and dangerous approach used, as government representatives will not enforce the law but solely "through civil lawsuits filed by private individuals." In other words, it is residents who will be enforcing this new law. "A doctrine that is known as "sovereign immunity." It is not clear how this maneuvering makes this Texas law less unconstitutional. Chief Justice Roberts, who joined the liberal justices in the court, denounced the approach used by Texas. The US Supreme Court will have another chance this fall.  They will hear a big abortion case from Mississippi, which bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Religion is at the core of this abortion debate. The concept that life begins at conception comes straight from the scriptures. We also have that Sixth Commandment, "You shall not murder." Deeply religious individuals take this commandment as an obligation to protect all human life. They believe that stopping abortions will accomplish that endeavor.

Some history here, in 1620, English settlers who intended to lay anchor in northern Virginia ended up in "Massachusetts instead, near Cape Cod, outside of Virginia's jurisdiction." They immediately endeavored to organize a community that "could ensure a functioning social structure." They came up with "the Mayflower Pact." The very first line of the said document reads, "In the name of God, amen." In 1787, the colonies agreed to embrace the Consitution to provide the colonies with a centralized government. Nevertheless, there was no mention of God in this Constitution. The first three words of the Constitution: "We the people." What happened to God?

The framers of the Constitution understood that their newly assembled “civil body politic” must believe in the God of reason. Religion had to be left to people living in the colonies. They had to decide whether to believe or not to believe in God. Hamilton and Madison did not want religion to be part of the civic conversations leading to public policies. These framers understood that when religion injects into public policy dialogues, it will make the process of governing very difficult.

Thomas Jefferson conceptualized it better when he wrote a "letter to the Danbury Baptist Association."  In this letter, Jefferson argued that  when the American people adopted the establishment clause in the Constitution, they built a "wall of separation between the church and state."

The rallying cry from the pro-choice folks is that the government should not decide about a woman's body. It is an utter violation of woman's rights and equal protection under the law-both are protected under the fourth and the fourteen amendments, respectively. Women's groups relentlessly argue that women cannot exercise full citizenship if they do not control their reproductive system. Indeed, throughout history, women were just mothers and could not become professors, lawyers, or any other profession they would choose; these women's groups insist.

Conservative-pro-life groups in this country are telling pro-choice groups, "you want to talk about constitutional rights. Bring it on!" They immediately point out the ultrasound that shows a fetus with a heartbeat and ask what about this fetus with a heartbeat's Constitutional rights? From that point on, tensions start to rise, and the conversation becomes destructive and apoplectic.

Social groups have been waging culture wars against one another in the last twenty years.  Societal disagreement about homosexuality, multiculturism, racism, and abortion has become more pronounced since Trump won the presidency. Indeed, the struggle for values and practices has been a fierce all-out war among these groups. It is a struggle for the soul of this nation.

Yes, these meaningful conversations must take place but as long as we do not overlook other essential societal problems. We can not forget that we are still not out of the woods with the COVD-19 virus and that we have 45 million people living in poverty, education is on life support, and inequities in the allocation of resources is profound.

Thank you for reading.

Chamba Sanchez

________________________________________________________________________________________

Photo Credit: The picture was purchased from Bigstock

Sources consulted.

Diaz, Jaclyn. "Texas Law That Bans Abortion Before Many Women Know They're Pregnant Takes Effect."  NPR 1 Sept. 2021.
McKenzie, Robert Tracy. "Five myths about the Pilgrims." The Washington Post 22 Nov. 2013.
Savage, David, and Molly Hennessy. "Texas abortion ban goes into effect." Los Angeles Times 2 Sept. 2021
Serwer, Adam.  "Five Justices Did This Because They Could." The Atlantic 2 Sept. 2021.
Schwartzman, Micah, Richard Schragger, and Nelson Tebbe. "The Separation of Church and State Is Breaking Down Under Trump." The Atlantic 29 June 2020.
Strauss, Elissa.  "When Does Life Begin? It’s Not So Simple." Slate.com 4 April 2017.
Zhan, Sarah. "Why Science Can't Say When a Baby's Life Begins."  WIRED 2 October 2015.


In The Next year's Mayoral Election, City Hall's Politicians Need Not Apply

Voters in LA will have a chance to vote for a new mayor next year.  Whoever wins must be courageous enough to confront the rich liberals who oppose housing for the poor in their communities and environmental groups. The latter makes it difficult to build housing. All developments dealing with housing for the poor should be exempt from California Environmental Quality Act.

According to LAHSA, there are 66,436 homeless people in Los Angeles County and 41,290 in Los Angeles. The 50-block area in Downtown Los Angeles known as Skid Row has been branching out through many neighborhoods in Los Angeles. It is not unusual to see sidewalks crammed with tents of homeless people throughout many communities in Los Angeles.  We also need to shed light on large swaths of Angelenos who are one paycheck away from becoming homeless. Some of them lost their jobs during the pandemic and were lucky and grateful for the eviction protections that will end soon.

It is no hyperbole to say that the Los Angeles government is corrupt and broken and that paralysis rules city hall. City politicians have betrayed the public trust. Not too long ago, two councilmen resigned because they were charged with serious crimes by the FBI.

In mayoral candidates' forums next year, these mayoral candidates need to be asked one central question: How will you solve the homeless problem? That is it! Then, they should debate the question for the next two hours. Any politician who has been presiding over the paralysis at city hall need not apply. Yes, City Attorney Mike Feuer and Councilman Joe Buscaino, Council President Nury Martinez, and Councilman Kevin de Leon have been spectators of this city's decline and decay.

The Homeless problem in this city is frustrating, pervasive, and expensive. Rare is the Angelino who has not seen homeless people walking around naked screaming obscenities, shooting up, or having sex in broad daylight.  This human degradation taking place in many communities in Los Angeles is grotesquely sad.

Business people tell us that their bottom lines hinge on clean, unoccupied, and safe streets. These small business owners fret that these homeless people might destroy their ability to make a living. Also, residents who live near homeless people with their children don't want to hear about compassion or the collective moral obligation this city might have with homeless people. They want the city to exercise its civic duty and remove these people from their communities' sidewalks.

Residents agreed to pay more taxes so the city could have resources to at the very least make some progress. In March 2017, voters approved Measure H, a 1/4 percent increase to the County's sales tax provides $355 million per year for ten years. In 2016, In Los Angeles, voters approved another Proposition HHH, $1.2 billion, that would subsidize some 10,000 units.

Mayor Garcetti has been such of disappointment. He promised, people waited, and swift and decisive actions never came. Now he is being promoted, and he will probably become the next Ambassador to India. Garcetti wasted many of the city's resources, hired incompetent people in his administration, and lacked ideas to solve this homeless problem.

Los Angeles is in desperate need of strong, clear-eyed leaders. The new candidates running for office lack wisdom and a basic understanding of the complexity of residents' problems. The political machine that controls Los Angeles today is not interested in electing thoughtful leaders.

We have structural problems that require structural solutions.  Local newspapers reported that approximately 1,400 homeless people died in 2020, translating to four to five homeless individuals dying every day through many neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Residents have been asked to make sacrifices, and they have approved measures and propositions that provided resources to use in dealing with this homeless problem.

So much money has been spent, and the progress is either slim or none. We need a deeper level of thinking in tackling this issue. That is unlikely to happen with leaders who lack independence or clear thinking.

City Controller Ron Galperin audited the city's progress and concluded that the city was building small studios or large studios that cost over half a million dollars. The cost of these units "exceeded the median sale price of a market-rate condominium in the City of Los Angeles and a single-family home in Los Angeles County," the controller's audit argues. And then there were articles published in various papers that reported that a restroom for homeless people, yes those you see in Echo park or McArthur Park, cost $339,000.00. What a waste!

There are different types of homeless people with various challenges.  It is also vital to realize that solely focusing on building housing will only relieve some homeless individuals. A significant number of homeless people need not only housing but hey also need medical care. The poor, sleeping in their cars or on the sidewalks because they cannot pay rent-housing and job training will solve all their problems. These people should be housed immediately.  Nevertheless, for the mentally ill or even the drug addicts, things get complicated. Housing for these people dealing with these challenges will not do much if such housing is not connected to comprehensive medical services.

It might be time to reach out to the private sector to help us with this homeless problem. The innovation in the private sector might find a better and cheaper solution to this dispiriting problem.

For all the platitudes that Garcetti and other politicians like to eloquently say in speeches about Los Angeles being on the cutting edge of social justice, the facts on the ground are far grimmer. Power and money are in the hands of very selected few individuals in this city. And poverty and inequality are the byproducts of low-wage jobs and expensive housing.

Our leaders dragged their feet on this crisis for too long that it might now be impossible to find feasible solutions. It is very challenging to revive neighborhoods with abject poverty. LA needs bold and innovative civic leaders who can imagine a better future. This city's current status is not sustainable.

Mayoral candidates take note.

Thank you for reading.,

 

Chamba Sanchez

 

________________________________________________________________________________________

Photo Credit: The picture was purchased from Bigstock

Sources consulted.
Chou, Elizabeth.  "Bass, though undecided, still generating mayoral race buzz."  Los Angeles Daily News 29 Aug. 2021.
Galperin, Ron.  "High Cost of Homeless Housing: Review of Proposition HHH." lacontroller.org  8 October 2019.
"Handout #4: History of the Presidential Debates." PBS NewsHour, 2021. Web.29 Aug. 2021.
Goodheart, Jessica. "Homeless Deaths in Los Angeles Rose by More than 30% in 2020." Capital & Main 2 Feb. 2021.
Kotkin, Joel. "The City of Los Angeles goes to hell." City Journal Summer 2011.
Melley, Bryan. "Los Angeles passes measure limiting homeless encampments." AP News 1, July 2021.
O'Connell, Jonathan.  "Fast but uneven spate of evictions loom after Supreme Court frees landlords to oust tenants." The Washington Post 28 August 2021.
Reyes, Emely Alpert. "$339,000 for a restroom? L.A. politicians balk at the cost of toilets for homeless people." Los Angeles Times 10 June 2019.

 

 

 


A Look into Larry Elder's background -

Progressive Democrats throughout the nation are watching California in this recall election in disbelief. In contrast, conservative Republicans outside of California are delighted to see a very conservative African American candidate who can become a governor. California, the land of Nixon and Reagan, is finally waking up, these conservatives contend.

Democrats are perplexed and concerned. President Biden and other national Democratic leaders are urgently being asked to come to California to rescue the embattled California Governor.

In this interview Elder gave to the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, he is deliberate and thoughtful on his policy proposals. He does not hold back either and calls out some of the reporters in the panel for asking silly questions.

Larry Elder is tapping into Calfornians' anger and frustration as to how California is decaying by the minute under Democratic leadership.  But his conservative background and his positions on social and fiscal issues do not scream electoral viability in the blue state of California, experts argue.

Pundits, who argue that ruthless conservatives policies have no place here in California, forget that in the 1990s, California voters approved Proposition 187 that would deny rights to immigrants and their children.  In addition, California Prop. 209 ended affirmative action, incarcerated minorities with Prop. 184, "three strikes and you're out" policies.  Moreover, in 2003, people in California recalled a democratic governor and installed a Republican movie star as their governor.

"We would rather be ignored than patronized." used to be a slogan used by African Americans when they joined the Republican Party.  Many young African Americans with conservative leanings say they no longer want to be ignored and have gotten active and deeply involved in the Republican Party.

Larry Elder might benefit from the current excitement in the conservative movement in this country. In the last three years, there has been an onslaught of conservative new faces on television. Many of them are young African Americans attacking liberal policies and defending the capitalist economic system.

Candace Owens, a young African American woman, is a regular on many conservative talk shows.  Owens and other young black conservatives are bluntly asking blacks to leave the democratic party.  They have dubbed this thing "Blexit," meaning "Black exit."  Conservative groups are investing heavily in organizing "Black Leadership Summits," structuring very young conservative black minds.

Contributing to this effort, we saw black rappers, Kanye West, 50 Cent, and Lil Wayne publicly supporting Trump in the last year's presidential election. There were also reports that veteran rapper Ice Cube was enthusiastically working with Trump to promote a contract for African Americans.

Larry Elder, motivated by Ronald Reagan's election in 1980, joined the conservative movement. He lives in Los Angeles and utterly rejects the prevailing wisdom of Los Angeles, a bastion of liberalism.

Elder, 69, claims to be a Libertarian on some social issues.  Yes, he smokes marijuana and hangs out with Snoop Dogg.  At least, that is what his former fiance alleges.  He also has a compelling life story. According to his website, he was born and raised here in Los Angeles. He graduated from Crenshaw High, Brown University, and got his JD from Michigan Law School in 1977. In addition, he has done work in television, radio, and film. He attributed his success to his working-class parents, who worked hard to ensure he had a good education. His supporters see him as the American dream writ large.

Conservatives African Americans have different views and understanding of the challenges facing African Americans in this country. Larry Elder added his voice to the chorus of other conservative African Americans [Shelby Steele, Armstrong, Condoleezza Rice, and Supreme Court Justice Clarance Thomas] to denounce liberal policies for African Americans. They all argue at the top of their lungs that "personal choices and responsibilities" are the key to success. Elder dismisses claims that this country is racist.  He vehemently argues young blacks use racism as an excuse to escape responsibilities.

Black conservatives mentioned above do not only embrace capitalism, but they also utterly reject black nationalism and separatism.

There has always been this chasm of disagreement among Black intellectuals about how best to lift and liberate African Americans from racism among society's institutions. Looking back to history, we would see Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois energetically engaging in this debate. These two black intellectuals and leaders ignited the civil rights movement, historians argue. Both thinkers had the same goals, "socioeconomic equality for Blacks in America." Nonetheless, they had different approaches as to how to achieve such goals. Dubois wanted active and militant participation from blacks in challenging racism in this country. He believed that blacks could only be liberated if racism were eradicated from American society. Only then the black struggle would end, and prosperity will come, Dubois thought.

On the other hand, Booker T. Washington made a case for acceptance of the brutal system in place that oppressed African Americans. Booker T. Washington argued that if African Americans work hard and build wealth, eventually they would be respected by the racist whites.

Booker T. Washington reasoned that if blacks have nothing to offer in the marketplace, they reinforce the prevailing view about them not being productive. However, If they bring something to the table, the whites capitalists will have no choice but to embrace them as equals. Many blacks challenged his approach, and many accused him of selling out.

In less than a month, voters will vote on this recall election.  There are twice as many registered Democrats in California. If registered democrats stay home, Elder's chance to win on September 14 will significantly increase. It has been reported that Governor Newsom has $40 million to spend.  He will make sure that Democrats do not stay home. Voters will soon be bombarded with ads, calls, and aggressive door knockers showing up at your door demanding your ballot. Labor unions already activated their soldiers, and they have started knocking on doors and calling democratic voters.

This recall election, pundits argue, is a vivid display of conservatives "owning the libs." Even if conservatives do not succeed in this election, they managed to weaken the progressive movement. And, of course, there is nothing better for conservatives than seeing a conservative "brother" relentlessly attacking the foundation of progressives/liberals' policies.

Thank you for reading.,

Chamba Sanchez

 

________________________________________________________________________________________

Photo Credit: The picture was a screenshot from Mr. Elder's Twitter account

Sources consulted.
Bond, Paul. "Here Are the Young, Diverse Conservative Stars Progressives Need to Fear."  Newsweek.com 4 Sept. 2020.
Dawson, LJ. "Inside the Summit for Trump-Loving Young Black Conservatives." Politico Magazine 6 October 2019. Dortch, Jessica.  "The Great Debate: Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. Du Bois."  Afro.com  13 August 2020.
Elder, Larry. "Democrats and the “She” Vote." Capitalism Magazine 5 May 2000.
LA Ganga, Maria, L.  "In Race for White House, the ‘Cult of Condi’ Plays Growing Role."  Los Angeles Times 28 May 2000.
Russakoff, Dale.  "Lessons of Might and Right"  The Washington Post 9 Sept. 2001.
Skelton, George. "Column: Does Larry Elder have a path to the governor’s office? Maybe, if Democrats don’t turn out." Los Angeles Times 15 July 2021.
Fitzgerald, Trent. "Rappers Showing Support for President Trump in 2020." XXL.com 3 November 2020.
White, Jeremy B. "Republican rivals attack recall frontrunner Larry Elder in California debate." Politico.com 17 August 2021.


Why I Might Vote for the Recall

The fifth-largest economy in the world and the wealthiest state in the richest country on the planet is on the verge of recalling its governor. In one of the so-called bluest states in the nation, people are fatigued by the bloom and gloom and the inability of California's Democratic-led state government to solve problems.

Republicans might have started this recall, but new polls show that support for the recall is deep and broad among voters. There is no hyperbole here, but unless Governor Newsom changes his strategies, Californians will wake up with a new Governor on September 15, 2021.

The pundits who argue that Governor Newsom's lapses of judgment do not rise to a grievous level in which he needs to be recalled are missing the point.  These so-called experts fail to see the deep-seated anger and resentment of many people who see California teetering on collapse under democratic leadership.

Progressives who have been in the trenches demanding justice are not blind to the problems facing California.

This recall is a rallying cry for change, not one demanding a different philosophy for governing but a practical one with the will or courage to generate solutions for the enormous challenges facing people living in California. It truly is a critical framework that can be used to see and understand how arrogant democratic leaders have grown and the problems with unchecked power. Everywhere Californians look, they see very same problems that they have been facing for quite some time. A new level, a deeper level of thinking, is badly needed. It is time for soul searching. The major government institutions in the state-controlled by Democrats, cities, counties, and the state legislature, are not responsive to the basic needs of an average Californian. There are many imbalances and inferiorities in the distribution of resources that must end.

Democrats are all reciting the same bullet points. They assert that this recall is about a power grab by Republicans. Sadly, they also tell supporters that US Senator Feinstein might not make it in the next two years.  It is like the sky will fall if Governor Newsom is recalled. Utter nonsense that is not helping Governor Newsom.

If Governor Newsom gets the boot in this recall election, progressives don't need to fret. Basic civic knowledge dictates that governors do not have absolute power. There are separation of powers and checks balances in place that will not allow a crazy individual from imposing his will on people in this state. Hence many progressives who might be voting for this recall are taking solace in the fact that Democrats control both chambers in the California State legislature. Democrats do not just enjoy majorities in the assembly and the state senate, but they also enjoy supermajorities in both houses. Democrats will have the ability to override gubernatorial vetos in real-time. These democratic chambers will become hostile in the event Governor Newsom is replaced.

There are progressives such as the author of this piece, who see a dysfunctional unemployment office that paid $11 billion in fraudulent claims while many Californians could not pay their rent. They also see gasoline prices going through the roof and see no solutions for their community’s sidewalks that have taken over homeless individuals with their tents.  In addition, California had a "staggering $75.7 billion surplus last year," and help from Sacramento during the most challenging times during the pandemic crisis never came to many poor people in the state.

The enthusiasm gap between the right and the left is very telling. Republicans are ready to go without much effort in mobilizing supporters. Democrat voters still need persuasion.  These democratic voters have no time for civics. They are busy working and thinking about how they will pay for the rent.

It is mind-boggling seeing that not one out of the 46 candidates listed on the ballot appears to be ready to lead this complicated and ungovernable state. Yet this election is very close.  The Democratic leadership, including Governor Newsom in California, ask: "Why is the right-wing so animated and ready to vote, and why is the left missing in action?" There are many factors that the pundits do not usually consider.

The "left" is not as monolithic as political experts let on. There are substantial divisions among moderate or corporate democrats, Bernie Sanders' supporters, and the so-called "socialists." These people forget that Bernie Sanders won the state in the democratic primaries.  Sanders' supporters and socialists are constantly disappointed by the corporate Democrats in Sacramento for being too close to corporate power.

And then we have the independents in the state who refuse to have any affiliation to neither major political party. Some of these voters might be fatigued with Democrats controlling all levers of power in the state and might like to see Newsom recalled. There are also African American voters whose leaders are coming out in public against the recall. Nonetheless, some of these very same leaders were utterly disappointed when Newsom appointed Alex Padilla to the United States Senate. Radio Show candidate Larry Elder will surely be reminding African American voters of Governor Newsom's decision in this appointment.

There are 22.1 million registered voters in California, and 46% are registered, democrats. The other half is divided between Republicans and "No party preference" voters. There are not enough Republicans to recall a seating governor in California. Some "no party preference" voters, Republicans, and voters on the left who are tired of lip service from these democrats in Sacramento will have to join forces if they want to recall this embattled Governor.

Governor Newsom needs to fix the problems with the unemployment office, use the power of his office to do whatever he can in reducing the prices of gasoline and work with city governments to fix the homeless problems.

Californians are tired of showmanship, drama, and theatrics. They want solutions for the problems they are facing.

Thank you for reading.

Chamba Sanchez

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Photo Credit: The picture used in this piece was taken by the author of the piece.

Sources consulted.
Baiz, Dan.  "Embattled California Gov. Newsom, facing recall election, says it's time for Democrats to wake up."  The Washington Post 14 August 2021.
Bromwich, David. "Have Democrats Become the Party of the Rich?" The nation 20 August 2021.
Myers, John. "Essential Politics: California independent voters begin to fade." Los Angeles Times 22 March 2021.
Wolf B. Zachary.  "Were half of Covid unemployment benefits stolen? Here’s what we know." CNN Politics 10 June 2021.
Yamamura, Kevin. "California has a staggering $75.7B budget surplus." Politico.com 10 May 2021.


Capitalism at its worst: Let older Americans die!

As the novel coronavirus rages, many business leaders are concerned, the U.S. economy is in free fall, and the rest of the world economy is sinking. Business leaders are scared as they seek ways to keep the economy alive.

Trillions of dollars have been wiped out of the stock market, people are staying in their homes, and they are not shopping. And, workers are laid off by the millions. The economy came to a grinding halt when the virus began to spread very rapidly. The challenges that this country and the world at large are facing are of biblical proportions.

It is argued by some economists, that containing the virus successfully and having no economy will make no sense. Having major economic problems will lead to worse health problems; these business people appear to be telling Trump. People in financial distress will "commit suicides."  "We have to go back to work," Trump told reporters.  What Trump might have tried to articulate in this media presentation was that he, as a leader, had the responsibility to conceptualize what are the potential costs of shutting down the economy.  Clearly, he believes that those costs are astronomical.

The premises of these questions in this conversation are rational and within the scope of what should be discussed by leaders in societies when they are facing tremendous challenges.  However, then stupidity emerged, and some people suggested the many older Americans or grandparents are disposable and that in the name of patriotism, they should sacrifice their lives "for keeping the America we all love for their grandchildren."

Yes, it is the survival of the fittest. After all, older Americans are so vulnerable, and they will eventually get the virus and die. So what is the point of shutting down the economy and asking people to stay home to save them?  Moreover, these older folks will also add more stress to our healthcare system. They will put healthcare professionals at risk and will prolong this deadly virus from being contained, these appalling people are suggesting.

This is a grotesque conversation for sure; it reinforces all the evils about capitalism that socialists frequently denounce.  It appears that it has already been decided that this economy cannot be reopened in  "a virus-safe way.” At the core of this conversation is the major assumption that older Americans are the most vulnerable to this virus, and younger Americans are somehow safer.  This findings are still not conclusive. There have been reports that young people are dying too in this and other countries. We need to conduct more analyses and have more clarity as to who is at higher risk across the age spectrum.

A leading voice against the president's comment was New York's, Governor Andrew Cuomo.  People will always "choose pubic health over the economy." Human life should always be more valuable than trying to boost our economic system. "Neither my mother nor your mother should be expendable; he told reporters.

A couple of weeks ago, President Trump point-blank said that he was gravely concerned about the economy being utterly destroyed by the coronavirus. He told a group of reporters that he was expecting people in this country to go back to normalcy by Easter. “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself. At the end of the 15 days, we will decide as to which way we want to go,” he asserted.  Then, he answered questions from reporters, "The holiday would be a beautiful time to have packed churches, he told them.  It was the utter opposite of what doctors have been saying; doctors are asking people to avoid gathering in crowds during the pandemic.

Almost immediately, President Trump was mocked.  His comments were interpreted as he was asserting, "the sick will rise from their beds and the dead from their graves on Easter and they will run to the malls in this country and will shop until they get sick and die again. Since then, he has modified his position.

The President's comments sparked a forceful debate among economists, health officials, and politicians, mostly governors who thought that it was insane to ask people to go back to normal.

Worrying about the economy at this point might very well be counterproductive and self-destructive, endeavoring to identify solutions to end this pandemic can be the best way to strengthening the foundation of our economy. Collectively this country is nowhere close in containing this pandemic.  It is not clear if the government truly knows the number of people infected.  Since not that many people have been tested for the lack of test kits.  We woefully lack the protective equipment needed for our health professionals, and yes, we need ventilators to save lives.

Rather than start extrapolating what the future holds for our economy, we should use the power of the market place and forcefully enforce the "The Defense Production Act."  We should mass-produce ventilators, face-masks, gowns, gloves that are desperately needed in this crisis.

Our leaders should know that crises will not only take place but also understand that these crises will always have competing interests.  The challenge then becomes how do we protect the national interest or public interest at the same time trying to strike a balance among all the competing interests involved.

Public health officials want us to exercise social distancing, and those concerned about the economy want us to gather at malls and shop.  These two principles conflict and will require creative and visionary leadership to balance them. Trump does not know how to deal with this, and it is clear that his business background is driving his comments.

Who would have thought three months ago that our entire planet was going to be paralyzed by a virus? Both developed and underdeveloped countries have been walloped.

The latest numbers: "More than a million people have been diagnosed with the virus worldwide, as the death toll surpassed roughly 51,000 while about 208,000 patients recovered."

Moreover, our leaders should prepare us for the next pandemic, so we do not have to lock down the entire country. If we are serious about defending this country, then more resources need to be appropriated to battle future plagues more effectively.  Otherwise, the whole planet will be brought to a halt every other five years by pandemics.

Our leaders should think ahead and proactively prepare this country to confront future epidemics and pandemics. Next time around, we should be ready for the worst-case scenario.  In hindsight, spending a couple of hundred billion dollars now looks like pocket change in light of all the trillions of dollars spent and the thousands of lives lost.

Finally, this pandemic is testing this country's ability to manage resources to contain this virus while protecting the weakest and the poorest among us.  It is also testing its "competence" and its "compassion." So far, the U.S. is miserably failing on these three fronts.

Thank you for reading.

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Photo Credit: Picture used in this piece was purchased from Bigstock.

Sources consulted.

Concha, Joe. "Glenn Beck: 'I'd rather die' from coronavirus 'than kill the country' from an economic shutdown." thehill.com 25 March 2020.
Heffernan, Virginia. "Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom deliver the leadership and straight talk Trump won’t." Los Angeles Times 26 March 2020.
Katz, David L. "Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease?" The New York Times 20 March 2020.
Kim, Victoria. "Will we ever bounce back from social distancing?" Los Angeles Times 27 March 2020.
Megerian, Chris and Sarah D. Wire.  "Trump Warns of Hard Weeks Ahead."  Los Angeles Times 1, April 2020.
O'Connor, Lydia. "Billionaires Want People Back At Work, Even If It Kills Them." huffpost.com 25 March 2020.
Roberts, Chris. "Ex-Goldman Sachs CEO Calls On America to Return to Work ‘Within a Few Weeks."  Observer.com 24 March 2020.
Schumpeter, Joseph A. Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. 3d ed. 1942. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1950.
Summers, Lawrence. Interview by Judy Woodruff. PBS-Newshour 26 March 2020. Television.


The Poor And The COVID-19 Pandemic

If one is poor, the chances for this individual to catch the coronavirus or die from it increase exponentially. The corrosive inequalities in American society are deep and broad. These inequalities don't only worsen the spread of this lethal virus, but they also worsen the consequences.

It is true that COVID-19 doesn't discriminate; several wealthy people and politicians have been infected. Nonetheless, avoiding the virus successfully or trying to be tested after showing well-known symptoms might hinge on one's place in the economic system.

Wealthy individuals have resources that can easily be deployed to protect themselves from this pandemic. The most effective way for people to protect themselves from the virus is to avoid contact with the outside world.  This can easily be done by wealthy individuals.  Poor people can't do that. Some of them have to go to work with high risk older adults who might have serious underlying medical conditions.

Locally in Los Angeles, businesses that the government considers "non-essential" are closed. Educational institutions, universities, community colleges, and K-12 schools have all shut down too. Streets and freeways are scarily empty.  And late this afternoon, UCLA announced that its graduation ceremonies scheduled for the summer will be conducted virtually.

Mayor Garcetti in Los Angeles goes live every other day asking Angelenos to stay home. Many people appreciate the efforts made by civic leaders and healthcare officials.  If you are blessed to have a profession or work in companies that do financial activities, you will easily follow these instructions.  But that message is grossly inadequate and falls on deaf ears on those living in poverty in Los Angeles.  Workers want to know how they will pay their rents and how they will feed their families.

The large service-oriented economy in Los Angeles has been hit hard by this pandemic.  Leisure and hospitality, retail trade, and companies in the "gig economy" employ large swaths of people in this city. Businesses in these industries have laid off many workers in the last two weeks.  The majority of these low wage workers have been surviving paycheck to paycheck.  They have been one paycheck away from going homeless. Also, they have no health insurance, and many of them work in the "gig economy."  It is not within the realm of possibilities for these workers to stay home. The current economic infrastructure in place limits the ability for healthcare and government officials to contain or to mitigate COVID-19's casualties.

Financial relief for workers in these industries must be part of the overall strategy in fighting against this pandemic.  Postponing evictions or setting up "The Angeleno Fund" gives a false sense of protection.
We need more aggressive financial relief. Mayor Garcetti should use this city's credit rating to borrow money while the federal government negotiates its financial relief.

And then we have testing for COVID-19, which has shed light on the pervasive privileges enjoyed by wealthy individuals.

If one wants to see how dysfunctional or biased the current system is, he/she should try to get the coronavirus test.  He/she will be advised to call his doctor; the doctor will ask him/her many questions. And in the end, this individual will be asked to just quarantine himself without a test being given to him/her.  Unless this person is unable to breathe and is hospitalized, only then he/she might be given a test.

It is an outrage seeing captains of industry, politicians, entire basketball teams, Hollywood elite, and other wealthy individuals being tested. In contrast, regular folks who might genuinely need the test are not able to get one. Some of these influential people are getting preferential treatment through concierge doctors. These doctors in these concierges provide services to wealthy patients at many medical centers, such as Cedar-Sinai and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. This blatant elitism and preferential treatment should not be tolerated.

A news organization reported that a Santa Monica pediatrician was selling cheek-swab tests for $250.00. Parents could buy this test even if their kids were not symptomatic.  This is so infuriating as folks with real symptoms but with lesser means have to get to the back of the line.

Shamefully, we have a healthcare system that treats the wealthy, well-connected, and not sick better than it treats the critically-ill poor.

Healthcare workers provide comprehensive procedures to COVID-19 infected patients by inserting breathing tubes in the patients' windpipe filled with infected saliva.  These healthcare professionals should not only be a top priority in getting tested; they should also be given adequate protective gear to treat infected patients.

Rich folks must somehow understand that basic enduring principle that protecting themselves means that they should also make sure everyone else is protected.   Dr. King got it right when he made that urgent call on us to understand that we exist in "an inescapable network of mutuality." We are all in this together. We won't be able to meet the moment if we continue to marginalize some of our fellow citizens, non-citizens, and the hardworking undocumented immigrants in our communities.

The latest report: COVID-19 has infected 422,614 people worldwide, and roughly 19,000 have died. The coronavirus started in Wuhan China and traveled, at the speed of light, to all corners of the globe, COVID 19 has paralyzed the planet.

The events in the last two weeks have defied our comprehension.  Many of us are still wrapping our minds around this pandemic and how it has upended civilization. Yes, we are trying to make sense of the dimensions of this profound societal interruption and extrapolating about what the future holds. We are not sure about the future, but we should try to help each other out.

Drastic times require drastic actions, deferring mortgage payments, foreclosure, and evictions are just prolonging the misery.  Rather than delaying all these payments from those in the lower end of the economic strata, these payments should be forgiven for at least three months. If we are serious about staving off the plague imposing a quarantine is not enough, we should also provide financial relief to the poorest among us.

Social solidarity should be as contagious as this virus that has kept us confused, dazed, and at home for the last two weeks.

Thank you for reading.

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Photo Credit: Picture used in this piece was purchased from Bigstock.

Sources Consulted.
Elmahrek, Adam, Amy Kaufman, and Ben Poston.  "Doctors selling tests to select patients." Los Angeles Times 23 March 2020.
McNulty, Charles.  "Mastering the art of doing nothing."  Los Angeles Times 22 March 2020.
Penney, Joe. "African nations turn their tables, imposing travel restrictions against the U.S. Europe, and China to stave off Coronavirus." The Intercept 15 March 2020.
Smith, Allan.  "Rand Paul says amid criticism that more Americans should be able to get tested for coronavirus."  nbcness.com 23 March 2020.
Tsui, Bonnie. "Coronavirus exposes America, the beautiful and the ugly." San Francisco Chronicle 14 March 2020.
Twohey, Megan, Steve Eder and Marc Stein "Need a Coronavirus Test? Being Rich and Famous May Help." The New York Times 18 March 2020.


Can Joe Biden Save The Republic?

The world continues to shift right beneath us. We are no longer sure which reality to believe in anymore. A reality on the ground that many agree on is that Joe Biden has clinched the Democratic nomination.

Biden's three immediate goals: unite the party, develop a political platform and immediately start thinking about a competent running mate who can help mobilize voters for the major election against Trump.

Uniting the party is essential if the democrats want to control the White House. So what should Biden do in bringing together the different factions in the party?  Not too long ago, the party's rank and file members would have closed ranks once a candidate had clinched the nomination. It looks like some of this has taken place as candidates with no clear path to victory suspended their campaigns.  Support for the former Vice President has begun to coalesce around him in force.

Constructing a political platform that can motivate people will not be an easy task.  It has to be a platform filled with progressive policy proposals that excite all the rank and file Democrats. It is not clear if this is doable, taking into account Biden's legislative record.

Biden argues, that although he is a moderate Democrat, he has presented position papers filled with more progressive policy proposals than the ones Obama and Hilary presented when they ran for the presidency. Biden is for more taxes for the rich and tuition-free public colleges and universities, at least for those families making less than $125,000.00.  On healthcare, the former Vice President would not touch private insurance, although he promises to embrace a federal program for anyone who wants it.

Biden's vision must inspire confidence for better days, must have a well-crafted message, and a well-thought-out plan of action. Joe Biden should not struggle in articulating a coherent narrative that can strike in contrast to the incumbent President.

In a conventional Democratic Presidential Primary, Biden would probably have not succeeded in winning the party's nomination. Moderate Democrats cannot bear another four years of Trump's nonsense, corruption, and indecency.

Joe Biden's major challenge going toe to toe with Trump is defending his legislative record of forty-four years. He spent 36 years as US Senate and eight years as Vice President.  Many progressives find Biden's legislative record problematic.  He opposed school busing that aimed at ending desegregation in the 1970s; he voted against gay marriage in the 1990s, and he supported legislation that massively incarcerated many black and brown folks.

Another challenge for the Vice President, as a child suffered from the speech impediment of stuttering. He was bullied and humiliated as he dealt with this problem. As an adult, he continues to stutter. Biden fumbles for the right word and quickly forgets things while campaigning.  His detractors called him a "Senile." Speech experts claim that his challenges with stuttering "do not explain all his verbal oddities." The struggle is real; during the primaries, Biden has had difficulties navigating while giving speeches. At one point, he even had problems remembering Obama's name, and he just identified him as "the last guy."

Of course, the non-conformists will argue that there are no differences between Trump and Biden. But, there are, for starters, when it comes to social and cultural issues and judicial nominations, the candidates offered starkly different options. At the very least, progressives can pressure Biden. Trump cannot be pressured, he will not only just laugh at them, but he will also try to destroy them at every opportunity he has.

Whom should he select for his running mate? The operative assumption here is that Joe Biden will choose a woman, fulfilling the promise he made while debating Sanders a couple of weeks ago.  In that debate, Biden assertively told the audience that he was selecting a woman.  Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Elizabeth Warren are clearly in this shortlist of potential running mates.  Senator Klobuchar might help to disrupt the loyalty that some white voters have for Trump in those swing states in the midwest.

On the other hand,  selecting Elizabeth Warren can animate the left, those lefties outside Sanders' tent.  They love her exceptional skills in connecting her personal stories with policy proposals. Warren can also bring tons of electricity to the campaign.

There are other possible choices of well-qualified women of color being mentioned, such as Senator Kamala Harris, former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Sen. Catherine Cortez Mastro of Nevada and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan.  This is a complicated dilemma for Biden in choosing a running mate as he also needs to court voters of color.

There were frustrations and anger in this Democratic presidential primary. Progressives are not that happy with Washington's career politicians. They equally abhor the masters of the universe from Wall Street. Nonetheless, democratic voters had to decide whether to vote for Sanders, whose policies they agree with or to vote for Biden, a moderate "corporate" democrat. Sanders, it was argued, had zero chance of beating Trump.  While Bidden has a real shot in winning in November. They decided to support the former Vice President with the hope that once Trump is replaced, they will revisit some of Sanders' progressive ideas.

Democratic voters were scared to death as their lives have been upended by the Coronavirus.  The entire economic system was grinding to a halt before their eyes.  They were in no mood for ideological ax-grinding and pie in the sky proposals that had zero chance of seeing the light of day.  They wanted a more steady voice coming from the White House in these times of crisis.

The Democratic Party and its leaders are under no illusion that beating Trump is going to be a walk in the park.  They are gearing up for what they call "the most consequential election of our times." They are all dissecting the election of 2016, and they have vowed not to make the same monumental mistakes that Hillary made.

The groundwork has been laid out; this election is clearly about the direction of the nation. Joe Biden must make the urgent case that this country is on the verge of losing its soul, its democratic institutions, and its civility among Americans under Trump.  He should convince voters that four more years of Trump will be detrimentally lethal to this nation. The gloves are off, and Democrats are ready to engage in an all-out cultural war for the soul of this country.

Thank you for reading.

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Photo Credit: Picture used in this piece was purchased from Bigstock.

Sources Consulted.
Hill Seth. "Can Biden beat Trump? Michigan’s swing districts offer good clues. Los Angeles Times 17 March 2020.
Hook, Janet. "The burden of a 40-year career: Some of Joe Biden’s record does not age well." Los Angeles Times 18 March 2019.
---, and Evan Halper. "Biden says he wants a female running mate. Who? Los Angeles Times 16 March 2020.
McManus, Doyle.  "Joe Biden could learn from Ronald Reagan." Los Angeles Times 18 March 2020.
Roche, Dan. "What others see as Joe Biden’s mental slips, I see as the tricks of a master stutterer." Los Angeles Times 19 March 2020.
Thomas, Ken, and Eliza Collins. "Biden-Sanders Relationship to Guide Next Phase in Democratic Race." The Wall Street Journal 19 March 2020.


How Can The Most Powerful Nation On The Planet Be So Woefully Unprepared?

The stock market was booming, a Jewish socialist was on the verge of winning the Democratic presidential nomination and all of a sudden, in December of 2019 reports from China told the world the Chinese health officials had detected a new outbreak.  It was a disease that later became known as  COVID-19 CoronaVirus, one of the most lethal public health challenges of this generation.

Although the outbreak of this virus started in China, it has moved to other countries at the speed of light. A significant number of confirmed cases were reported in South Korea, Italy, Iran, France, Japan, Germany, and Spain.  The epicenter of the problem has moved to European countries, which triggered Trump's decision to ban travel from Europe for 30 days.  Dr. Anthony Faucci and Dr. Robert Redfield, both of them well-respected experts when they appeared before the Oversight Committee agreed with the ban. According to these doctors, "70 percent of new infections in the world are coming from that region. And of the 35 or more states that have infections, 30 of them now, more recently, have gotten them from a travel-related-case from that Europe."

This is what we know so far, the virus can reproduce itself many times.  It starts with a common cold that infects the sinuses and the throat. Then, the virus spreads into the cells of the airways and lungs. The virus has the power to damage the lungs, and people infected will immediately have problems breathing.  In the process of our immune system fighting back, this virus can damage our blood cells, and they may begin to leak fluid into the lung tissues. These new sets of problems may lead to pneumonia.  The virus can also attack the kidneys.  Kidneys clean the blood and free them from waste.  If the kidneys don't function, a high level of toxins will start piling up on your body.  And in the worst-case scenario, the virus may attack the entire body.

According to health officials, the only way people can get the virus is only if they hold a 15 minutes close face-to-face interaction or if they spend two or more hours in a contained environment.

It is not clear what is the point of the government on keeping reporting on the number of people infected when they don't really have the ability to adequately test Americans. Our government might not have a real sense as to how far and wide this virus has spread into communities.   Nonetheless, here are the number of cases in the U.S. as of Saturday, March 14, 2020, which has increased to 2,800 and there are reports that 58 people have died most of them from Washington state.

In the State of California, the number of people infected rose to 288.  In Los Angeles County, 13 more cases were reported to bring LA County up to a cumulative total of 54 cases. According to John Hopkins University, there have been 153,503 confirmed cases worldwide.   Incredibly, the lack of strategy has left some states in the U.S. asking residents to self-quarantine. As Dr. Antohny Fauci told the news organizations, the U.S. "has yet to reach its peak of coronavirus cases." We should brace for a lot more cases and deaths from the most vulnerable among us: folks in their 70s and 80s.

In Los Angeles, the reaction among Angelenos was swift, anxiety and fear set in no time. Schools have been closed; colleges have suspended classes on campuses and transitioned them to online platforms. Also, Costcos, Targets, and supermarkets were all swarmed with people looking to stack up with food and water. Even restaurants, bars and coffee places have been closed. Both streets and freeways are nearly empty, news organizations have reported that in some restaurants, customers' temperatures were being taken before tables were given. Socially distant Netflix binges are the name of the game for many here in Los Angeles.

Economically, this outbreak forced the financial markets to take the biggest plunged since 1987's Black Monday. The effect of the Coronavirus has had a far-reaching impact on the financial markets throughout the world, its effect is far worse than any other outbreak or past viruses. "Global stock market losses climbed past $16 trillion since high on February 19."  Let that sink in for a moment, all the conditions for a worldwide recession have been laid out.

In addition, companies started canceling flights en masse, Disney shut down its amusement park, people are not eating out as frequently, and hotels have been hit hard as tourism declined.  What is taking place in these businesses might not sound like a big deal but collectively these four industries-airlines, amusement parks, hospitality and dining amount to a total of $1.2 trillion of the U.S economy.  Loses in these industries have sent shock waves to the U.S. economy.  In addition, these industries employ 17 million workers. Yes, investors of all persuasion got scared. Central banks around the globe are working 24/7 to do whatever they can to stop the bleeding so global financial markets can stabilize.

Politically, this pandemic has elicited problems with our leaders.  For starters, listening to Trump makes people even more concerned.   Americans need their leader's resolve not confusing and self-congratulatory responses. Indeed, they want leaders who inspire hope for better days.  In times of real crisis, people expect their leaders to provide sound leadership coupled with reasoned-decision making to unexpected events.

There is a need for unification in strategy at the local and state levels. The profound lack of testing kits is a source of concern for everyone.  The real number of people being infested might be a lot larger than most government officials are telling us. When one looks at how our government responds, it is not hard to discern that containment is no longer the goal, it is mitigation what the U.S. is pursuing.  This reactionary strategy has many people concerned and their fears lead them to overreact.  It is a failure of biblical proportions, and voters in this country should hold their governments accountable.

As a battle of gigantic proportion is looming large in this country if this Coronavirus is not contained, our leaders need to come up with either the Marshall Plan or a Manhattan project to battle this outbreak. A fourteen-day national shut down should be seriously considered and FEMA should start building kiosks in communities and distribute $2,000.00 checks to all those folks who desperately need them.

The U.S. has grotesquely failed in testing its citizens.  Around the same time that the first case emerged in South Korea, the first case was discovered here in the U.S. Now, South Korea can test a lot more people in a single day than the U.S. can in a month.  That is disgraceful. So much for being the richest and most powerful nation on this planet.

Thank you for reading.

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Photo Credit: Picture used in this piece was purchased from Bigstock.

Sources Consulted.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S." cdc.gov 13 March 2020.
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