Slate: Pat McCrory is trying to steal the North Carolina governorship.

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113 Responses

  1. veronica d says:

    American democracy is basically dead.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    The Republican Party has basically decided that the Democratic Party is completely illegitimate and has no right to any position of power at any level of this country. This makes them believe that anything they can do to keep Democratic politicians who win elections out of power legitimate. They have all sorts of fancy justifications like this including the favorites like “we are a republic and not a democracy” but they all translate into “heads we win, tails you lose.”Report

  3. Stillwater says:

    Sure, a legislature can say, even in the form of a rule!, that roolz they’ve written aren’t reviewable by the courts…Report

  4. Kolohe says:

    I thought even back in the Franken – Coleman contested post-contest that if you’re running for re-election and the results are close enough for an automatic recount, the incumbent should simply be declared the loser right there and then.

    Incumbency is such an advantage that if you’re not putting away the victory decisively, you don’t deserve the job.Report

  5. trizzlor says:

    I don’t think it’s kosher to accuse the GOP of stealing an election before they’ve even commenced with a recount. By the same argument it’s Cooper that’s trying to steal the election by casting suspicions over McRory’s valid recount efforts.

    The article does point to a reaaaaally interesting story with the state supreme court though. A SCOTUS appointment shifted the balance of the court to conservatives, at which point the GOP legislature passed a bill that SCOTUS retention elections were no longer contestable (i.e. you could no longer challenge an incumbent judge up for retention). The constitutionality of the law was challenged all the way up to the state SCOTUS, which creates a pretty obvious conflict of interest since the judges are deciding on a law that affects their own retention. Only a single judge – who was himself up for retention the coming cycle – recused himself. You can file an ethics complaint against the other judges, but it is evaluated by the very same judges because a 2013 law eliminated independent review. Fortunately, the 3-3 court was deadlocked and the retention law was rejected. In the following election, the liberal challenger beat out the incumbent conservative judge. So the GOP legislature is now planning to pack the court with additional judges appointed by the exiting governor in an emergency session. The GOP will have a super-majority in the coming year.Report

    • James K in reply to trizzlor says:


      Agreed. I can definitely see how this would be a problem (and a serious one at that), but right now it’s a hypothetical.Report

    • Kim in reply to trizzlor says:

      Yeah, the “we’re just going to do whatever we damn well please” attitude is more concerning than a recount that may or may not actually happen.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to trizzlor says:

      SCONorC(?), not SCOTUS. And no one’s criticizing judicial elections right now, I notice.Report

      • Don Zeko in reply to Kolohe says:

        Well then I’ll step up to the plate. Judicial elections are stupid and bad, but however you select judges, packing the court for partisan advantage is dirty pool. Hell, it’s probably even dirtier than what the national GOP pulled to retain control of SCOTUS.Report

      • trizzlorr in reply to Kolohe says:

        My mistake, it’s the state supreme court in all cases. I’m against judicial elections but it’s sort of beside the point here. First, we’re talking about retention rather than appointment. Second, however NC decided to do retention, it’s clear that the state GOP decided to circumvent this process unconstitutionally. Having judicial elections that flip on and off based on the whims of the majority in Congress is the worst possible outcome. One would hope that NC voters punish their representatives for writing unconstitutional laws that weaken institutions and independent review, but – as is becoming typical – the voters took their anger out on the executive while handing the legislature a supermajority (and that’s ignoring the voter ID shenanigans going on in NC). To me this is a precursor of the shredding of norms that’s coming to the federal level.Report

    • Pinky in reply to trizzlor says:

      There’s a big difference between something happening and Slate saying it’s happening. At a minimum, we should put Slate at least temporarily in the same category as Trump for undermining election results. Let’s see what happens.Report

  6. Damon says:

    I can’t believe anyone who’s posted against this. You are anti democracy. Shame on yall!Report

  7. Pinky says:

    I’m just hoping to bump this thread onto the Recent Comments page for a few minutes, just to remind people that (a) Slate is usually wrong, and (b) most of your worst fears don’t actually come true.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

      and (b) most of your worst fears don’t actually come true.

      I think it depends on what you think liberals’ worst fears are. Are they a) that conservatives will use every trick in the book, no matter how far beyond the pale, to achieve their goals, or b) that they’ll actually achieve their goals, even if it takes using every trick in the book.Report

    • J_A in reply to Pinky says:

      Without ruling on Slate one way or the other, Mc Crory was really really trying to find a way to subvert the results. There was no reasonable way he could surmount his deficit, and by insisting on allegations of fraud for weeks, all the way to a full state recount (later backed down for a full recount of Durham as a first step ONLY), he went way past anything that could be considered reasonable doubt.

      If he wasn’t really trying to steal the election, he definitely made it look like he was.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to J_A says:

        And the conclusion of the NC legislature is that yet stronger voter ID laws are needed, because the flithy libruls tried to steal this election even though it turned out not to be necessary.Report

  8. trizzlor says:

    This is a good thread for folks still interested in what the NC GOP will come up with next:

    they’re using an emergency session meant for disaster relief to take control of the election board in even numbered years (i.e. when elections happen), restructure the state supreme court, and introduce new mechanisms for blocking appointments. The people have spoken.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to trizzlor says:

      I’d say that the GOP has no shame, but I just read a Ben Shapiro article blaming Obama for destroying shame as a political tool, so this is actually Obama’s fault.

      In any event, that’s pretty brazen “take no prisoners” behavior. Ballsy. Shocking, actually.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to trizzlor says:

      Remember when we were discussing the Democrats doing something like this to get Merrick Garland through?

      Good times.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        I hear ya. I think the Dems oughta grow a pair and do it. I mean, it’s not like the GOP is gonna start playing nice anytime soon.

        Hell, people used to beat each other with canes on the Senate floor when they felt passionately about policy…Report

      • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        Stop The Pixels. We have hit peak BSDI. You’re comparing some article a guy wrote which was discussed with what an actual legislature is actually doing. Truly epic.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

          The odd thing is that I think every Dem/liberal “tribal” “team” “partisan” here (except me) opposed the Dems making that Heart of Darkness move, even in the hypothetical case Burt presented, while in trizz’ linky we have the NC GOP actually going Deeper Than The Dark Heart.

          So I’m not sure where the hypocrisy lies. Not even for me, tho I’d be the likely candidate.Report

          • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

            Well i never voiced my opinion because it was never more then some wild thing that had a microscopic chance of ever being tried. It was a thought experiment. R’s, the party, are going to a ridiculous extent. It’s almost like the R’s don’t want a high trust society or something.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

          ‘If you are a man, Winston, you are the last man. Your kind is extinct; we are the inheritors. Do you understand that you are alone? You are outside history, you are non-existent.’ His manner changed and he said more harshly: ‘And you consider yourself morally superior to us, with our lies and our cruelty?’

          ‘Yes, I consider myself superior.’

          O’Brien did not speak. Two other voices were speaking. After a moment Winston recognized one of them as his own. It was a sound-track of the conversation he had had with O’Brien, on the night when he had enrolled himself in the Brotherhood. He heard himself promising to lie, to steal, to forge, to murder, to encourage drug-taking and prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases, to throw vitriol in a child’s face. O’Brien made a small impatient gesture, as though to say that the demonstration was hardly worth making. Then he turned a switch and the voices stopped.


      • trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

        The Garland gambit (which was a liberal fever dream) at least had some internal logic: the people voted for Obama to nominate judges and have them considered; the GOP is using procedure to prevent this from being carried out and disenfranchising those voters; the Dems are justified in using procedure to stop the disenfranchisement. The NC gambit doesn’t even bother with “turnaround is fair play”: the GOP liked being in charge of elections when they were in power and they want to stay being in charge of elections so they’re going to change the law. Simple as that.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to trizzlor says:

          If I am Bannon, I am going to feed (through secret and obfuscated channels) every single dirty trick that I want to pull in two weeks to partisan firebrand reporters (like Ioffe!) and let them write an article that talks about “HEY YOU KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD DO TO TRUMP!!!! THIS DIRTY TRICK!”

          Let that article get out there in the wild. Get one or two talking heads to talk about how it is a good idea because Trump is just that bad.

          Then pull the trigger.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

            So the argument is: “You can’t beat the winners at their own game”?

            Fair enough. I guess we just gotta ride this one out, yeah? See if enough liberals become Jaybird-type libertarians to turn the tide against … uh … who exactly?

            Oh yeah. The folks who aren’t Jaybird-type libertarians. {{Whew! I figured it out on my own!}}Report

            • veronica d in reply to Stillwater says:

              I wonder if there is anything the Republicans could do that would be the responsibility of the Republicans.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

              I don’t know that I’m making an argument as much as noticing a dynamic.

              If the most important thing in the world is the process, then we can get all argumentative about the process.

              If the most important thing in the world is winning and figuring out how to game the process is the best way to win, then we’re going to find that the best way to win involves gaming the process.

              And, if I were going to game the process, I’d get my opponents to state loudly how awesome gaming the process is right before I game the hell out of it in a way that screws them over.

              You’re going to get sick of winning.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Isn’t the dynamic really just a large version of the prisoners dilemma?

                If both sides abide by unwritten norms both will benefit modestly.

                But if one violates the norms and the other doesn’t, the violator will reap a larger reward.

                From what I can see, we have had 8 years of nonstop norms violation by one side.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                8 years, you say?

                But yes. We are smack dab in the middle of both sides beginning to accelerate defecting.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                And when the prisoners dilemma breaks down, thats exactly the smart move.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Is there a reason we’ve all accepted that the purpose of a party is to survive the prisoner’s dilemma and not to, like, be a vehicle for policy?Report

              • Kim in reply to trizzlor says:


              • Chip Daniels in reply to trizzlor says:

                It is the vehicle for policy.
                But of course, as every politician will tell you, in order to effect policy, you have to win.

                This isn’t a new thing; actually, the Framers were very well conversed in the uglier aspects of politics, which is why we have things like the Electoral College, and separation of powers.

                And I think there is some part of policy that will always be ugly and unpleasant.

                Changing from “Transgendered people are an abomination” to “Transgendered people are welcome in North Carolina!!” is not going to be easy, never would have been easy, in any alternate world regardless of what they or anyone else did.

                Whats going on in No. Carolina is unusual and precedent setting, but the underlying passion and intensity is not.
                Their worldview is being shaken to its core, and these people are effing furious.

                They have announced their intention to fight and win by whatever means necessary, and they will win, unless they are met by superior force.

                I see a weakness sometimes in liberal circles in assuming the arc of the universe will somehow bend towards justice by itself without our working for it.Report

              • Kim in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Justice may not be what you think it’ll be.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                @chip-daniels , @morat20 “in order to effect policy, you have to win”

                But you know this isn’t true, right? The minority can have an outsized effect on policy through negotiation and/or protest. The majority can achieve short-term victories that lead to long-term structural losses. Game theory is fun and all but, c’mon, politicians are just normal stupid people who want to do their job. They’re not some cellular automaton that’s operating under an intricate rule set.Report

              • Kim in reply to trizzlor says:

                trizz is right. The Republicans killed the ACA in the cradle, and the Democrats watched them do it.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to trizzlor says:

                The minority can have an outsized effect on policy through negotiation and/or protest.

                If you want an example of skillful minority negotiation, wouldn’t the Senate GOP 2008-2014 be the perfect example?

                In other words, what you call “negotiation” appears pretty much synonymous with “gamesmanship” and bareknuckle politics.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                What policy agenda did the 2008-2012 GOP move forward? Did they strengthen their long term policy agenda? I would say “No” on both counts. The GOP gave up multiple opportunities to shape policy in their favor. The GOP elected a leader who has abandoned their stated policy goals, fractured the party elite, and is uniquely unqualified to move policy forward. They happened to get lucky with a uniquely unlikeable opponent running a mismanaged campaign – so there’s that.

                Imagine an alternate universe where Trump runs as a Democrat and wins. Would you be thinking – “yeah! let’s do more of what brought us here”?Report

              • trizzlor in reply to trizzlor says:

                Or more concisely: Are you SERIOUSLY telling me that the party that just elected Trump is something the Democrats should be looking to for strategic inspiration?!!Report

              • Gaelen in reply to trizzlor says:

                I think I’m with you here.

                Though it would likely be worth separating out political from ideological/policy goals, and short term success from long term success.

                So Republicans mortgaged the farm for short term political and policy success (Though the policy success is a little shaky because it’s based on Trump cooperating ). Long term I think this is going to bite them in the a*#. I’m sure I’m right about that though.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to trizzlor says:

                What makes you think they had any policy preferences, other than preservation of the status quo?

                Their preference on health care was literally DO NOTHING.
                Climate change? DO NOTHING.

                Sometimes, doing nothing IS the best policy a party can hope for. Other times, negotiating for half a loaf is better.

                Like right now, unless the GOP offers a palatable alternative to the ACA, the Dems would be smart to simply hunker down and block every conceivable thing in hopes of making Trump look weak and ineffective then hope for victory in 2020.

                Political gamesmanship is not always effective- no game strategy is foolproof. So this strategy may have to be jettisoned in favor of another if other factors come into play.

                But the point I’m stressing is that policy preferences require gamesmanship and plain old politicking, and we liberals shouldn’t be shy about that.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to trizzlor says:

                Yes. Because game theory is directly applicable. Loser’s don’t get to implement policy.

                It applies to negotiations as well (which is, you know, also how you implement policy).

                Effectively we have an iterated prisoner’s dilemma here. And because one side is defecting and the other refuses to, the defecting side sees outsized gains.

                The only proper move is for the Democrats to begin defecting as well. Otherwise, there is no incentive for the GOP to stop defecting as they get outsized gains as long as the Democrats refuse.Report

              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                prefer to make a better gameReport

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Which is the proper move if you know the other prisoner has defected.

                Yes, it’s inferior to nobody defecting. But it’s superior to the position if one side defects and the other does not.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Jaybird says:

                Mad Hat Scenario:

                defector type #1
                “they should be more reasonable, and deserve a ten years sentence, maybe solitary confinement”

                defector type #2
                “the walls of this jail have no mortar, these bricks are really light”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Civilization so fragile.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

                Not really. It’s taken 50 years of defections for us to get this banged up, and we’re still standing. (Warning: previous results may not be indicative of future results.)Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Pinky says:

                Yeah, but we are this banged up.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Joe Sal says:

                More food, more education, and more freedom than any civilization ever? Things could be better, sure, but “not able to pee in the women’s room” isn’t “we don’t eat that much since Dad died”.Report

              • Kim in reply to Pinky says:

                Or, depending on the person, “not being able to wank in the women’s restroom while wearing a dress and peeping at the girlies”Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Kim says:

                So you’ve been reading the same erotic fanfic as the NC GOP?Report

              • Kim in reply to Don Zeko says:

                I know a purveyor of pornography. There’s all sorts of fetishes, and if all it takes is the ability to wear a dress, well… the autogynophiliacs will have some competitions for those stalls.

                Or, to put it more baldly: Less than one percent of people are transsexuals. What percentage of people are perverts?Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Pinky says:

                Farmers are getting old, education is getting left. Freedom? Hell are we even in the top ten anymore?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Check your temples for bullet wounds. If there aren’t any, then ponder that you just criticized your government to the entire world instantly from your laptop. We may not be perfectly free, but hey, no bullet wounds.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Pinky says:

                So I’m supposed to feel lucky for the honor of not getting shot by the government? That’s where we are?

                It’s just as likely we are on the eve of governments getting torn to shreds no bigger than a bottle cap.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Joe Sal says:

                So I’m supposed to feel lucky for the honor of not getting shot by the government?

                Well, yeah. Most people in history would feel lucky to have First Amendment freedoms. But, bigger picture, I don’t care how you feel. I was replying to Jaybird’s comment that civilization is fragile by pointing out that it’s been through a lot recently and is still relatively intact.Report

              • Gaelen in reply to Pinky says:

                Exactly, this isn’t even the worst our politics have been in the last fifty years. Let alone everything capital C Civilization had had to deal with.Report

          • trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

            Really? My lesson is almost the opposite: voters don’t care about claims of hypocrisy if they’re getting the agenda they want. Hypocrisy is the focus of the media class, which is steeped in dramatic narratives, legacies, and entangling alliances spanning many administrations. The voter wants to know if you’re doing something for him. You are? Okay go get it done. Don’t care how.

            And I think it goes both ways. If a policy pleases voters (say, infrastructure spending) Democrats are going to get nowhere complaining about how the GOP used to be against spending – it might even backfire. On the other hand, if a policy displeases them, then Bannon can do all the pointing to liberal firebrands he wants about how much they loved the proposal when it was *their side* in charge and it won’t move the needle. The right answer to “What have you done for me lately” will never be “Demonstrated for you that the other guy is a hypocrite”.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to trizzlor says:

              I wasn’t going for a lesson.

              I, personally, am going to try to do my best to notice the next couple of times that there is a big and novel “HEY WE SHOULD DO THIS” story and try to remember that this will likely set a precedent and then keep my eyes open for what happens next.

              I suppose if there’s a lesson, it’s contained in what happens after that “HEY WE SHOULD DO THIS” story makes it to the big leagues.

              If what happens is that Republicans game the shit out of the system with a tactic similar to the aforementioned THIS, I’d say that the lesson has something to do with the importance of process over outcome.Report

              • Francis in reply to Jaybird says:

                How about somebody arguing that the DEA should decide to change the schedule of a drug without complying with existing law?

                Hey, what goes down can’t go back up, can it? I thought that this precedent could only be used in one direction?


              • Jaybird in reply to Francis says:

                “Hey, how come whenever the government doesn’t comply with its own laws, it’s always to its own benefit rather than to the benefit of the society it’s supposed to serve? You know what? The government ought to not comply with its own laws in service to society every once in a while!”

                “The government ought to not comply with its own laws in service to society? You’re talking anarchy!”Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                So do you think government should bypass the law when doing so is “in service to society”?

                If so, who gets to determine that?Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Morat20 says:

                This ‘law stuff’ who decided that originally?Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Congress who, I might add, can instantly (via law) exempt drug scheduling from the usual laws regarding making and changing regulations, or simply schedule pot by fiat.

                That’s the whole point: The process to reschedule a drug is long and tedious by law, to give all stakeholders plenty of time to comment, argue, pound the table, file lawsuits, etc (and to prevent Presidents or political appointees from radically changing the regulatory framework at whim).

                Good or bad law is one question — and it’s a question for Congress (if it’s bad as in “not working as intended”) or SCOTUS (if it’s bad as in “not Constitutional”). It’s not for Executive branch agencies to simply ignore it because they think “this outcome is totally non-objectionable/awesome so screw the law”.

                Which is the root of the whole argument. You have some people advocating that the President or the DEA just “make it happen” despite actual, real laws that say “There’s a process, and it’s not quick, when it comes to creating or altering regulations such as drug scheduling” — that is, they’re arguing the President should ignore the law to reach this goal.

                Good law, bad law, it’s weird to see people otherwise harping on Presidential overreach screaming to ignore the law right now to get the results they want.

                Instead of, you know, approaching the proper branch of government. (Congress. Who can exempt the DEA from the lengthy legally required processes to change regulations, or who can schedule pot however they want, etc).Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’m kinda good with letting congress go, and POTUS, and the DEA, and the FDA. Not looking to rehire.Report

              • Francis in reply to Joe Sal says:

                I recommend emigrating. The other path to your solution is dissolution of the union, and I suspect that doing so would be very unpleasant for all concerned (which, because nukes, is everyone on the planet.)

                A few years back I knew someone so outraged at the election of B. Clinton that he seriously looked into emigrating. Much to his despair he found that any country that met his minimum standards of civilization (a) was actually really hard to get into, (b) were actually much less free than the US, and (c) had problems just as bad if not worse than hereReport

              • Joe Sal in reply to Francis says:

                Naw, I’m good where I am, and it’s just going to get better.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Right up until it happened.

                You’re like a fish who thinks “All this water just slows me down. It’s not like it does anything”.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’m not going to play the ‘what your like’ game. You wouldn’t like it.Report

              • Gaelen in reply to Jaybird says:

                how come whenever the government doesn’t comply with its own laws, it’s always to its own benefit rather than to the benefit of the society it’s supposed to serve?

                If this is in reference to the denied petition to reschedule Marijuana, I have to make the point, again, that they complied with all existing law (and came to a decision you and I disagree with).Report

              • Francis in reply to Jaybird says:

                ya know, I have never once argued that the CSA can’t be amended.

                Since you’re so damn sure of the rightness (and righteousness) of your position, I’m sure that there is an easy path to the 218/60/1/5 votes you need.

                As best I can tell, you’re bitching about the fact that the Obama administration took an expansive view of Executive power for those agencies where Executive power has traditionally been expansive (ie, immigration) but didn’t take an expansive view of Executive power for those agencies where Executive power has traditionally much more constrained (ie, most of them except State and Defense).

                me personally, I think that federal agencies deciding for themselves that they can violate the federal laws under which they operate for the benefit of (your view of) “society” is actually a terrible idea. You are quite literally advocating for despotism.

                “Society” is not a higher cause than the rule of law. We can always change the laws, but we’re not going to be able to easily undo the idea that the Attorney General can just fire everyone who won’t immediately follow a Presidential directive.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Francis says:

                Indeed, the both of us have repeatedly told Jaybird that amending the CSA would, in fact, be the swiftest path to what he wants.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                Yes. And he didn’t disagree.

                He just also pointed out that there were other paths as well, some of which were trod under He Who Shall Not Be Criticized.Report

              • Gaelen in reply to Jaybird says:

                Again, I’m not exactly sure what you are getting at. But it is very, very clear that Obama, once he appointed his DEA head, does not have the authority to direct an outcome.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Gaelen says:

                As best I can tell, Jaybird simply doesn’t believe that. He believes Obama CAN do it, and we’re all lying or mistaken because we love Obama SO MUCH that we can’t handle criticism of him.

                He wants it done yesterday, and Congress won’t do it. A President might, so therefore the President MUST have the power to do it! Otherwise, he’d be stuck with either waiting for Congress to handle it OR continue to wait patiently as the DEA slowly works through it.

                And god help you if you suggest that, bluntly, no matter what the states say — the CSA plus some treaty obligations mean the DEA might be stuck no matter what anyone outside of Congress wants. That Congress, deliberately or not, made pot a nightmare at best (and perhaps flatly impossible at worst) to move off Schedule I without an actual change in the law.

                Jaybird acts a lot liek the CSA was written by the DEA itself, rather than implemented by them. (Well, not just by them…). That would explain his frustration at least, because if drug scheduling was just a DEA internal setup then it would be bureaucracy in his way — and not actual laws on actual books that dictate both the procedures to deal with it AND the considerations in question.Report

              • Francis in reply to Morat20 says:

                (to be honest, at this point I think he’s just trying to get a rise out of you, me and Gaelen.)Report

    • veronica d in reply to trizzlor says:

      You all realize that American democracy is basically dead, right?Report