United States Presidential & Congressional Election 2024

so there are degrees of “threat”.

one is the traditional R (make voting hard or harder/impossible for some who…might be identifiable; other similar things) vs a new strain (call election results lies and rile up a mob to violently disrupt the process).


I think the counter argument is that the law was changed.

A super majority of voters said to let felons vote. I’d have to read the amendment, but i’m guessing it didn’t qualify that with “if they have all their fines paid.” For many voters, this was a vote potentially against more narrow self interest in favor of democratic principles.

And then entrenched powers in the legislature, which i’m sure is gerrymandered like every other, seems to have overturned the popular will to keep power.

Courts may have blessed this, but they have blessed all sorts of frankly anti democratic actions in the past. For example, historical poll taxes.

I saw a poll result the other day which found that actually most americans support democracy. What they are incorrect about is they underestimate how much the other political side supports them as well. That was hopeful for me to hear.

Sadly, it is not as clear this is true for all our leaders.


Agree it’s a continuum, and it’s all dangerous to democracy. We have seen escalation over the last several election cycles from just light gerrymandering to an all-out effort to crack-and-pack districts to maximize the effect. This is explicitly the goal of the Republican party. It has been okayed by the Roberts court so they can be much more upfront about it. Dems tried to do something similar in New York but they screwed themselves by forgetting to capture the courts first. Of course Trump took it to the next level last time, but we have been on this path for a while now.

One remedy is non-partisan redistricting commissions. Those work pretty well where they have been tried, but it’s only Democrats pushing for them, so it ends up being unilateral disarmament in blue states. Ohio tried this but the Republicans were able to stall long enough that the most recent election ran on their old gerrymandered maps, with predictable results.

1 Like

i agree that there is a cynical abuse of rules going on the last 10 years or so


My suspicion is that the letter of the amendment sent to the voters, when parsed with the meanings of leagalese terminology, did indeed say that felons had to satisfy their fines before their voting rights could be restored…and that most voters didn’t understand that certain terms have somewhat different meaning in legalese.

For those not familiar with the situation, before the amendment, something like more than one-quarter of all African-American adults had no right to vote due to past convictions. And, while criminals could petition to have that right reinstated, it wasn’t a trivial process, and the outcomes relied on the decision of a political committee. That committee had a record of tending to approve requests made by fair-skinned Christians, and denying requests from everyone else.

The public vote was a clear expression of popular desire to address some of the glaring problems of the old system.

Desantis’ push to require fines to be paid off is likely a legitimate interpretation of the letter of the law (despite the apparent public will), but it does reflect a shift back to something similar to the old system.

(I’ll leave a discussion about the problems with the fines aspect of the criminal justice system, or the inequities inherent in the justice system in many states, as an exercise for the reader.)

This one issue does a great job of explaining my concern about Desantis. He’s actually smart enough to support some troubling things within the letter of the law.

He’s pushing some stances I find disturbing, if not reprehensible…and he’s competent enough to achieve success.

Trump, on the other hand, is an incompetent idiot. His idiocy is extremely dangerous, and he spews some vile things as he works to obtain the adoration of his followers…but his incompetence leaves the door open for others to be able to do some damage control.

I’d still rather risk a chance of a 4 more years of the dangerous, incompetent idiot, than the likelihood of 8 years of someone competent enough to advance some vile things.

1 Like

Here is the exact wording that was on the ballot.

A “yes” vote supported this amendment to automatically restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation.


This probably needs a citation. Would have to read the actual text. My suspicion is that the parsing was done after the fact by people who wanted to continue to disenfranchise these felons.

Edit: I see max posted the text. I guess if part of their probation includes paying fines, maybe. Still looks very disingenuous to me.

1 Like

It did not

It is not

I’d still rather risk a chance of a 4 more years of the dangerous, incompetent idiot, than the likelihood of 8 years of someone competent enough to advance some vile things.

I think i am starting to come around to this.

That’s essentially my thinking. If you understand leagalese, you understand that fines can fall within “all terms of their sentence” that has to be satisfied before restoration of voting rights. I suspect (but do not actually know) that many voters were unaware of that nuance and had a more liberal intent.

And honestly, on the surface, the idea of “completely satisfy your sentence, including time served and other penalties” doesn’t sound necessarily wrong. It’s only when you consider how impossible some of the fines are, and how onerous some of the court costs can be in light of the practical restrictions people have when reentering society that the idea sours.

And a related question has occurred to me – in states where convicts are disenfranchised, do people that are just being held awaiting trial still get to vote?

Wikipedia reports the following language appeared on the ballot:

Wikipedia also notes that the actual amendment text was available in a booklet at voting sites (although I’m going to assume most voters didn’t consult it). Relevant Wikipedia link: 2018 Florida Amendment 4 - Wikipedia

I’m suggesting that “complete all terms of their sentence” includes “pay all fines” in legalese, but many voters didn’t realize that (or realize the implications of that).

1 Like

FWIW I’m making that statement assuming that Desantis would probably defeat Biden, but Trump probably would not. If it looks like that assumption isn’t valid when the GOP primaries roll around 15-16 months from now, the strategy will need to be reevaluated.

I think how you put it is certainly a reasonable argument. I suppose I just personally worry more about what the incompetent idiot wanna-be authoritarian would do than the competent, non-Liberal (in the classical sense) challenger. I don’t think we’d face any risk of DeSantis’ son being queued up for next in line, for example.

Desantis isn’t going to shill for Russia. Desantis also isn’t being paid millions of $'s to license resorts and host golf tournaments on behalf of the Saudi crown prince. The Steele dossier may not be real, but the likelihood that a philandering idiot like Donald Trump has compromising video of him out in the world is quite high. A narcissist like him would do anything to keep that kind of info secret. I understand what you all are saying about their policies but Trump is a problem not only in that he is conservative, but also that he is owned by foreign governments.

1 Like

That’s fair.

I’m thinking about my potential primary vote as the answer of some calculus reflecting the relative badness of Trump vs Desantis themselves, the likely composition and behavior of Congress under a Trump or Desantis administration, their relative odds of victory vs Biden or whomever the D’s run, and the potential public reaction to Trump vs Desantis.

(On that last point, non-rabid R’s erode Trump’s ability for mischief. I doubt there will be any such insulation if Desantis were in charge since Desantis isn’t, well, completely nuts.)

Those are all subjective calls, and I can see where reasonable people who might buy into my sort of calculus would come up with different answers.

1 Like

This needs to go into the same bin with Hunter Biden’s laptop for things of exaggerated importance to the right wing.


And meanwhile, Trump’s propensity to advance certain matters of social conservativism is somewhat muted by his squirrel-like attention span. Desantis, on the other hand, could be enough to shift my wife and I from “we don’t want to be in certain parts of this country” to “we don’t want to be in this country”. (I don’t think we have enough points to qualify for Canadian PR, but we might be close…)

Remember the below? This was the type of crap going on when Trump left office because he wasn’t paying attention. Running the executive branch of the government is serious business. A fool has no business being in that seat. You are focused way to much on the news of the day and forgetting the fact that we have a country that is constantly under cyber attack and a military with trillions of $'s worth of advanced weaponry that the President is in charge of among other things.

1 Like


My wife and I have both nearly lost our lives due to having lived in circumstances with rabid forms of extreme social conservatism. (The worst experiences: my being beaten up outside a gay bar in Atlanta; my wife having been physically and sexually assaulted in an “exorcism” in rural Alabama.)

My priorities may be somewhat different than yours.


I’m curious: do you remember where this was?

This was almost 30 years ago, and I’m horrible with names.

I want to say that it was in Midtown, maybe closer to Downtown. Only went there once. Most of my trips to Atlanta in those days were to spend time with an MD/PhD candidate at Emory whom I was infatuated with, and we usually went to a small private club in Tucker when schedule and budget permitted.