Thursday, March 23, 2017

Trump's Plummeting Poll Numbers


I grew up in one of the most Republican parts of one of the most Republican states in the country. I was a small-town Hoosier. Local Democratic office holders there are rarer than sasquatches . My home county is so deeply red that it went 74% for Trump to 21% for Clinton.

However, even in a county that is redder than every single county in Wisconsin, redder than any US state, there are a few progressives. After all, one-in-five people voted for Hillary. One of my Facebook friends, a former high school classmate, is one of those progressives. Last weekend, he had had enough. He posted:

"Sorry about the rant, but I am tired of Donald Trump and his lies. How much longer do we have to put-up with this clown? His new budget cuts money for Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels! This group does a lot of good feeding the hungry. Although you wouldn't know it by looking at me, I have missed a few meals in my life due to various circumstances. This country is the wealthiest on earth and we can afford to feed everyone. Maybe we can spend a little less on Trump's security in Florida and New York, and more on the important programs that help needy people. End of rant. Thank you."

The surprise is not that my friend posted this tirade against Trump. After all, he has always been on the liberal side. The shocking thing was the overwhelming response to his post. Despite living in the ultimate Trump country, despite having most of his FB friends from the same area, he received tons of "likes". Almost every one of the many comments to his post were supportive of his anti-Trump viewpoint.

It appears that even in the reddest parts of Trump country, many people are getting fed-up. The rosy vision that candidate Trump sold these people is not the reality that they are seeing. Instead of draining the swamp, Trump is stocking it with billionaire gators and Goldman-Sachs piranhas.

To be fair, there is at least one pro-Trump hold-out in my hometown. There is at least one person who would probably follow Trump even after he "shot someone in the middle of 5th avenue". The sole negative comment to my friend's post went, "Don't care. Hilary is a nasty bitch and should be shot in front of a firing squad. I don't know how stupid you people are, thinking Russia changed our mind. Hillary did the shit she did. If Russia uncovered it, that's great." Every village needs an idiot.

I know that this is anecdotal evidence. However, the growing anti-Trump sentiment in the reddest parts of Indiana echos the recent opinion polls that show Trump's popularity falling off a cliff. He has horrible numbers, bouncing around in the upper 30's. Trump is setting new presidential unpopularity records, at a time that he should still be in his honeymoon period.

There are plenty of reasons that Trump's popularity is lower than hemorrhoids and bee stings. He alienates our closest allies. The train-wreck of Trumpcare is good for no one. The ham-handed implementation of his Muslim ban shows the gross incompetence of his team. Seemingly, everyone in his campaign is linked to shady Russian operatives. A constant stream of easily-disproved lies rolls out of his mouth.

However, the thing that hits home the hardest is probably Trump's mean-spirited budget. In order to get big sums to spend on the senseless Wall and a few more cruise missiles, Trump's budget guts research, environmental protection, and arts funding.

But most damning cut of all, the cut that typifies Republican philosophy, the cut that drove my friend to rant on Facebook, is the cut to Meals on Wheels. Even in the reddest parts of the country, the well-being of old people is important. Videos of starving seniors will hurt Trump's plummeting poll numbers more than anything.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Activism Around the W.O.W. Counties-II

Sensenbrenner Town Hall-Germantown, March 11, 2017

Activism Around the W.O.W. Counties-I

Day Without Women March-West Bend, March 8, 2017

Sensenbrenner Would Rather Build Trump's Wall Than Feed Hungry Children



The infamous "baby parts" videos of 2015 claimed that Planned Parenthood was profiting from aborted fetuses. Despite being clearly bogus, many in the anti-choice movement saw this as an opportunity to deal a death-blow to Planned Parenthood. The sharks started circling. One of the many fruitless investigations into this non-existent scandal was a series of House Judiciary Committee hearings.

The highlight of the Judiciary hearings was an exchange between our own Congressman, James Sensenbrenner and Priscilla Smith, the director of the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice at Yale Law School.

Sensenbrenner: "When Congress sets budgeting priorities, you know, we have to decide on ... which has a higher priority and should be funded, and which has a lower priority and should not be funded, in the age of a nineteen trillion dollar deficit. Could you please tell us why Planned Parenthood has to get a half a billion dollars of federal funding every year, when there are other pressing needs, such as feeding hungry children that we should put that money into?"

Smith: "Let's be clear, that Planned Parenthood is not getting any public money for abortions..."

Sensenbrenner: "Well, money is fungible, Miss Smith. ...The question is whether, you know, Congress should appropriate another half billion dollars plus to Planned Parenthood when we could be spending that money feeding hungry children. This is a question of priorities. I would like to know what your priority is, Planned Parenthood, or feeding hungry children."
 

Sensenbrenner's questions were silly. He knows that only a comparatively small amount of money goes to reimburse Planned Parenthood for important health services provided at their clinics. I hope he knows that every Title X dollar spent for preventive services at PP clinics saves taxpayers an estimated $5.68.

However, Jim was absolutely right on two counts. There is not an infinite supply of money. Congress does need to set budgeting priorities. What is spent on one item cannot be spent on another. He is also right that money is fungible. Money is money, no matter how it is spent.

Last month, Rep. Sensenbrenner introduced a bill in Congress that he imagines will generate enough cash to pay for Trump's Wall. Jim's HR 1067 proposes to use assets seized from Mexican drug lords to pay for the futile, ugly, and expensive Wall.


Sensenbrenner was boasting of his idea at a town hall in Germantown last Saturday, "It will be built...Whether or not we have a Wall is not on the table.  It's how to pay for it, and I think I have a better idea how to pay for it than everybody else. "

I have no sympathy for Mexican drug lords. When caught, they should go to prison and all of their assets confiscated. However, as Mr. Sensenbrenner stated, money is fungible. Drug lord money is fungible, too. Money that comes into the government can be spent on anything-veterans, drug rehab, roads, or schools. So by insisting that this windfall drug money be spent on Trump's useless Wall, Sensenbrenner precludes it from being spent on more important things, like feeding hungry children.

And Sensenbrenner's choice between The Wall and starving children is not a theoretical one. While proudly publicly supporting Trump's extravagant Wall (a monstrosity that is estimated to cost us as much as $40 billion) he has actually voted to cut money from feeding hungry children. In 2013 Sensenbrenner, along with 216 of his GOP colleagues, voted to ax an unconscionable $40 billion from SNAP over a decade.


Jim Sensenbrenner has made clear his own response to the question he asked Priscilla Smith during the 2015 House hearings. He has made clear his own priorities. He voted to cut food for hungry children by about $40 billion dollars. He proudly supports building a senseless Wall that will cost us a similar amount of money. He evidently would rather build the Wall than feed hungry American children. Are those also the priorities of his constituents? 


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Big Government Interference With Universities- Part II



Last week, we looked at an alarming trend. Conservative politicians are trying to mold public universities to reflect their own extreme social and political viewpoints. We continue exploring that important topic this week.

Conservatives have long whined about "them damned librul universities". Many on the right believe that poor, impressionable students are indoctrinated with socialist and progressive propaganda when they go off to college. In our last blog, we pointed to examples of politicians trying to legislate-away this imaginary problem by micromanaging courses, dictating ideological balance on faculties, and pushing for taxpayer funding of more far-right lecturers.

These attempts of big government to interfere with our world-class universities are not just a few isolated occurrences. It is an organized and orchestrated movement. For example, the national Republican platform states: "Their (universities') excellence is undermined by an ideological bias deeply entrenched within the current university system. ... in state schools the trustees have a responsibility to the taxpayers to ensure that their enormous investment is not abused for political indoctrination."

Most party platform resolutions are meaningless. They usually reflect the most extreme positions of a party's fringe. However, when a country (or state) is totally controlled by one party, the craziest platform ideas often become law.

No less ominous is a 2015 Wisconsin State GOP platform resolution, which "Supports academic efforts that ensure that the presentation of our history, founding principles and religious heritage in our educational institutions, including those of higher learning, is objective, truthful and complete."

It appears that conservative state politicians are determined to impose a curriculum on Wisconsin universities that reflect their own versions of the truth in history, politics, and religion. What could go wrong with that? Can you imagine a UW history course written by Bob Gannon, Mary Lazich, and Dan Knodl? A comparative religion course approved by Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch?

I am not being paranoid. It has already started. In last week's blog, we pointed-out several real cases of meddling in university curricula by right-wing Wisconsin politicos.

The nation's new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is certainly on board with conservative attempts to take-over higher education. At last month's CPAC meeting, she spoke of a paranoid ideological fight against the "education establishment": "How many of you are college students? The fight against the education establishment extends to you too. The faculty, from adjunct professors to deans, tell you what to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think. They say that if you voted for Donald Trump, you’re a threat to the university community."

It is not just politicians. Several well-funded political organizations are also trying to shape college campuses into far-right Fantasylands. The group, Campus Reform, a project of the Leadership Institute, calls itself a "watchdog" to expose liberal "bias and abuse on the nation's college campuses." It aims "to report on the conduct and misconduct of university administrators, faculty, and students."

In the worst traditions of Joe McCarthy, Campus Reform's website offers a mechanism for disgruntled conservatives to report "leftist abuse". Among a lengthy list of examples of such reportable liberal sins are:

"Exams that assume a leftist agenda to be correct."

"Large numbers of courses presented that explicitly in their catalog descriptions push leftist ideology, but no balance of conservative principles offered in the curriculum."  and

"Mandatory seminars for students on how to have “safe sex” with little or no mention of the possibility or merits of abstinence or marriage."

Another similar group that is trying to remake universities into conservative havens is Turning Point USA . This group's mission is to "identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government."


Among TP USA's projects is the McCarthyite Professor Watch List which outs educators deemed to be insufficiently conservative. The list, which includes instructors from UW-Whitewater, Milwaukee, and Madison, is meant to provide "the specific incidents and names of professors that advance a radical agenda in lecture halls."

A well-organized movement is working to mold public college campuses into centers of far-right ideology. GOP politicians at both the state and national levels have bought-in. Well-funded conservative organizations exist to train, support, and grow right- wing campus groups. Several of these outfits are using McCarthyite tactics to lib-shame faculty and administrators deemed to be ideologically impure. 


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Big Government Interference With Universities

picture from amorphia-apparel.com

Conservatives across America have long whined about "them damned librul universities". Many on the right feel that poor, impressionable students are indoctrinated with socialist and progressive propaganda when they go off to college.

Perennial presidential candidate (and famed eponym) Rich Santorum spoke for many when he said in 2012, "Understand that we have some real problems at our college campuses with political correctness, with an ideology that is forced upon people who...may not agree with the politically correct left doctrine. And one of the things that I’ve spoken out on ... is to make sure that conservative and more mainstream, common-sense conservative and principles that have made this country great are reflected in our college courses and with college professors."

They are right on one thing. Professors do lean heavily left. Data compiled by Verdent Labs shows that Democratic-leaning professors outnumber Republican ones about 9 to 1. It appears that smart people who devote their careers to scholarship, education, and a search for truth do tend to be more liberal.

And voters? The more education you have, the more likely you are to cast your ballot for Democrats. In 2016, Trump won 52% of the the non-college educated population, but only 34% of those with a college degree. (He loves the poorly educated). Is this huge education gap the result of a conspiracy of mass indoctrination by socialist professors, or due to more benign factors?

Could it be that voters exposed to university science courses simply reject the anti-science party? Could it be that people exposed to other cultures, languages, and a diverse student population reject a xenophobic party message? Could it be that citizens with a diploma, and resultant lucrative careers, failed to identify with the GOP leader's "America is terrible" tirades?

Whatever the reason for the correlation of education with progressive leanings, GOP politicians are determined to legislate it away. Last month, an Iowa State Senator introduced a bill that would force a political litmus test on professors at that state's universities. If it becomes law, the rule would dictate that the gap between number of Democratic and Republican professors be no more than 10%.

It is not just in other states. Wisconsin politicians also feel it necessary to interfere with state universities and to legislate them into being more conservative. Last year, State Rep. Dave Murphy and State Sen. Steve nASS had a snit over a UW course on race relations that conflicted with their far- right sensitivities. nASS previously went into a tizzy over a sociology course assignment on sexual identity.

But it is not just a few weirdo politicos trying to micromanage state schools. Speaker of the House, Robin Vos, wrote an opinion piece in White Right Wisconsin in which he advocated spending tax money to bring more conservative speakers to campuses, "...what could be most worrisome about going to college these days is the plague of political correctness that creates an environment that ends up stifling free speech and potentially damaging the minds of tomorrow." (underline mine)

The 2016 Assembly Republican agenda, Forward, further pushes this idea: "Assembly Republicans will challenge the UW system to embrace ideological diversity on campus and ensure diverse perspectives are present and protected in our classrooms and faculty lounges."


To aid this Assembly effort, Scott Walker hid a provision in the new 2017-19 biennial budget that will protect campus alt-right hate speakers such as (former) Breitbart editor Milo Ylannopolos. (this man is so disgusting that he was banned from a recent CPAC meeting for advocating child molestation)

So far, the interference by conservative politicians with Wisconsin universities has only been in humanities courses. However, it is only a matter of time before meddling with science and medical courses starts. Can you imagine forcing Climate Science departments to teach that the jury is still out on global warming? Or requiring Biology departments to teach creationism alongside evolution? Or banning medical schools from teaching abortion procedures?

What if a powerful state politician is an anti-vaxxer ? Or believes in phlogiston or chem-trails or astrology? Will those be required to be taught in public university science departments, alongside actual science? What if politicians start insisting on re-writing history classes? And political science classes? Where will this big government interference with higher education stop?

Conservatives are increasingly blaming public universities for "brainwashing" students into progressive viewpoints. They are trying to legislate-away this imagined problem by micromanaging courses, legislating ideological balance on faculties, and pushing for taxpayer funding of more far-right lecturers. GOP politicians are attempting to mold public colleges and universities to reflect their own extreme social and political biases. This governmental interference must end.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ready for the GOP Recession ?





In January, the White House set aggressive goals of 4% annual US economic growth. This growth would supposedly be a result of large federal tax cuts, fewer regulations, and a huge infrastructure plan.

Economists in the new administration appear to be using mind-altering substances. To put this into perspective, the average growth for the 2010-2016 recovery was 2.1% annually. Rather than almost doubling the Obama recovery growth rate, I believe that proposed GOP policies will actually cut current growth. In fact, new GOP rules will likely lead to a new recession.

The economy runs in cycles. Periods of business growth are followed by contraction- as inevitably as night follows day. The average post-WWII recovery has lasted 58 months. At 91 months, the current recovery has lasted considerably longer than most. This recovery may soon collapse simply due to old age. But many proposed Republican policies will certainly hasten the process.

Messing with Healthcare. Healthcare is a huge sector of our economy. In 2015, health expenditures were $ 3.2 trillion, or 17.8% of GDP. Current GOP plans to muck-up Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare will wreak havoc on more than a sixth of US economic activity.

Certainly, fewer people will have insurance. Hospitals will face massive lay-offs and closures. Insurance will cost more to those who can still afford it, sucking money out of other sectors of the economy. As a result of only Obamacare repeal, the Economic Policy Institute estimates that 1.2 million US jobs will be lost.

And Republican schemes to privatize/couponize Medicare and slash Medicaid with inflict even more economic damage. Republican healthcare plans will be dramatic and effective job killers.
 

Anti-Labor Policies. GOP politicians are doing what they love best- taking money out of the hands of lower-paid workers. Already, the White House has announced that they will not defend (in court) Obama's executive order making as many as 12.5 million workers eligible for overtime pay.

With the GOP lock on Washington, the likelihood of a long-overdue increase in the national minimum wage is slim-to-none.

GOP politicians continue their efforts to lower American wages through their unrelenting war on unions. Corporate-shill Republicans have introduced a union-busting national Right-to-Freeload bill in the House. One-trick-pony, Scott Walker, has discussed a national version of Wisconsin's infamous Act 10 with the White House.


Every one of these actions will lower the take-home pay of those most likely to spend the money. Every one of these actions will efficiently put brakes on the economy by drastically curtailing consumer spending.

Xenophobic policies. The new mass round-ups and deportations of undocumented workers are exacting a serious human toll. But these actions will also have a huge negative impact on US economic growth. A recent study estimated that undocumented workers contribute 3% of private sector GDP and would have added nearly $5 trillion in economic growth over the next ten years.

The Muslim ban is also having unintended economic consequences. Scientific research will suffer because Muslim students and technologists cannot continue their work. Non-Muslim students and scientists will reconsider coming to the US, thanks to our current xenophobic government. We will lose our scientific dominance and the accompanying high-pay, high-tech jobs.

Our $2.1 trillion travel industry is already starting to suffer as people from all over the world are reconsidering their US visits. Travel booking sites report flights to the US down as much as 17% since 45's Muslim-banning executive order. Fully one in nine US jobs depend on the travel industry.

Other Job Killing Policies. In addition to the three major job-killing initiatives, the GOP has many other dandy ideas. House pols are pushing for a benign-sounding "border adjustment tax". These new tariffs would ignite a trade war, gutting US exports and inflating the cost of many needed imported goods. We already tried this idea during the Great Depression. It didn't work so well.

The fast-growing solar industry employs over 260,000 Americans. Wind employs another 88,000. The strange anti-science beliefs of Republican politicians will harm US leadership in renewable energy. A party that deletes all mention of global warming from government websites will have no problem in cutting energy research and in ending tax incentives for wind and solar power. 



GOP politicians are trying to re-mold America into their own ideological Fantasyland. Screwing-up the healthcare industry, adopting xenophobia as governmental policy, and a continuing effort to depress workers' wages will all have a hugely negative effect on US economic growth. We are entering a new recession of the Republicans' own making.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Dog is a Republican



I lowered my IQ by 5 points today. A high school classmate and Facebook friend posted some stupid country song called "I Think My Dog is a Democrat". The artist's name escapes me, but he is that doughy white guy who wears a cowboy hat and a flannel shirt, and sings with a southern twang.

The song made the rounds last March, being publicized by alt-right, alt-fact media like Breitbart and Hannity. However, because my personal Venn diagram doesn't overlap with either the world of country music or the propaganda world of the crazy right, I just now became aware of it.

The "singer" starts out braying that he feeds his dog and takes him to the vet. Somehow, because the dog gets a legally-mandated amount of care, that makes his pet a Democrat. The lyrics then work-in some important GOP themes, including that Hillary is a female dog, the Dem-o-crats are taking our guns, there is widespread liberal voter fraud, and of course-Benghazi TM
. He finally brings it on home, bellowing: "Ah thank ma dawg's a spread-the-way-ulth, gubment hay-ulth, flay-bitten De-mo-crat."

Unlike the dog in the insipid country song, I think that my dog, Bella, pictured above, might actually be a Republican.

First of all, Bella is not very smart. She is not even smart for a dog. She runs to the door every time a bell rings on TV. When I take her outside on the coldest of nights, she loses focus on her one job. She stares off into the polar gale as my core temperature steadily drops to the danger point.

Bella has all of the environmental ethics of a Republican. She craps all over the yard with no concern for others. She expects someone else to clean up her mess.

Bella also has the economic ethics of a Republican. When we feed the animals, my dog feels entitled to scarf-down all of the food. She leaves little or nothing for the cat. She got hers, screw Mr. Tickle-Puff.

Bella could be considered a neo-con Republican. She is constantly getting into fights with the neighbor dogs, actually enjoying a state of perpetual warfare.

Republicans live in fear of just about everything: big cities, non-Anglo-Saxons, feminists, terrorists, ebola, etc. So does Bella. She freaks out over plaster yard-statues of deer. If a car alarm goes-off anywhere within the Germantown city limits, she has conniptions. She cowers at the sound of distant thunder.

Bella hates any other animals that appear near her territory. She was here first, by God. No other dog should be allowed to set foot on HER soil!

Bella is not interested in facts. When I try to explain something to her, she just looks at me with the same blank, uncomprehending gaze common to Trump rally crowds.

Yes, if my dog was allowed to vote, I am afraid that she would join the millions of American humans of comparable intellect. She would vote Republican. 


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Upcoming State Election



It is easy to get distracted by the slow-motion GOP train wreck in Washington. However, we also need to keep our focus on what is happening in Wisconsin. This April, we vote for our State Superintendent of Public Instruction. But first, we have a February 21 state-wide primary to winnow the three-person field to two.

Tony Evers has held the position since 2009. He is one of the few state office holders independent of the Walker/Vos/Fitzgerald crime syndicate. He has been a strong advocate of public schools. I won't go into detail on Evers' long and distinguished service. But I encourage you to read his short editorial in today's Cap Times.

We know what we are getting with Evers. But what about the other two candidates, Lowell Holtz and John Humphries? It is difficult to sort through the edu-speak word salad from these candidates to define their governing philosophies. However, it is clear that both challengers are advocates of school privatization and expanded taxpayer funding of religious schools.

Both candidates would drop Common Core State Standards, because of Obama something, something... Holtz does not say what standards he would replace them with. Probably, each and every district would have to ineptly reinvent the wheel. Humphries would spend years and tons of taxpayer money to develop new, statewide Wisconsin standards- standards that would likely end-up similar to Common Core.

From a look at his campaign website, it apparent that Lowell Holtz is an extreme candidate. He has been endorsed by some of the looniest characters in Madison, including Representatives Andre Jacque, Bob "Gunnin'"Gannon, Tea Party Dan Knodl, and Janel Brandtjen. He is endorsed by former Representative, one-time State Superintendent candidate, and frequent national embarrassment, Don Pridemore.

If you like Betsy DeVos, you would love Holtz. Holtz wasted no time in posting a story on his website celebrating DeVos's confirmation. In describing the least qualified Secretary of Education ever, Holtz said, "Never before has the future of education been placed in the hands of a stronger advocate for personal freedom and school choice..." In a FB post last night, Holtz wrote, "Congratulations to Secretary DeVos on her confirmation by the US Senate today! Her intellect and leadership will serve the expansion and longevity of school choice well in Wisconsin and nationwide." (underline mine)

In an oh-so-clever wink to the extreme base, Holtz calls his website "kidservative.com".

John Humphries is also attempting to garner the conservative vote, although his pitch is a little more subtle. He wants to change the state constitution and weaken the roll of State Superintendent. He would create more bureaucracy through formation of an "Education Accountability Board", whose chair would be named by the governor.

Humphries supports the notorious Darling-Kooyenga plan to gradually privatize Milwaukee schools. He also wants to increase the dollars that taxpayers ship-off to religious and for-profit schools, at the expense of public schools.

According to a September FB entry, Humphries received campaign training by far-right American Majority, a group that organized an "I Stand With Walker" rally in February, 2011. He publicly supports Act 10. He issued a statement supporting the confirmation of spectacularly unqualified Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, saying the confirmation is a "positive development for the future of America's children."

Tony Evers has shown himself an independent voice that has deflected the worst
public school schemes of Scott Walker and his state legislature . He will provide an effective buffer from school privatization efforts by the new Secretary of Education, DeVos. Evers' two opponents will not. I encourage everyone to vote for Tony Evers in both the February 21 primary and the April 4 general election.



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

No Mandate For The Unpopular GOP Agenda



By any measure, the GOP cannot claim a strong mandate for the extremist agenda they are trying to foist on America. Trump lost the popular vote by 2.8 million. The only way that the GOP has a majority in the House is by a gerrymandering scheme so abusive that, despite Hillary's commanding popular vote win, she carried only 205 House districts to Trump's 230.

And the Senate composition indicates no strong mandate, either. If one assigns state population to the party of their Senators (and splits the state population for split-party states), Democratic Senators represent a huge 178.3 million people, or 55.3% of Americans. Despite this big majority, the Democratic Caucus only constitutes 48% of the Senate.

In contrast, the 52 Senate Republicans represent only 144.1 million people, or 44.7% of Americans. However, they claim a Senate majority, largely due to GOP strength in many of our least populous states.

OK, so the Republicans represent only a minority of Americans. How are they governing? Are they listening to the people? Does their agenda at least reflect the wishes of the majority?

Few issues divide the two parties more than the Right to Choose. For years, radical Republican men have ignored the people to wage their War on Women. The unpopularity of their stance is illustrated by a January Quinnipiac poll which asked: "If you knew that federal government funding to Planned Parenthood was being used only for non-abortion health issues such as breast cancer screening, would you still favor cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood?" The public opposes a funding cut by an overwhelming 80% to 12% margin.

In the same poll, Americans support the Roe v. Wade decision by 70% to 26%. Republicans can hardly say they have a mandate to legislate governmental control of reproduction.

How about other issues? Most Democratic office holders are against the Citizens United decision which exposed our elections to unlimited, anonymous, and uncontrolled dark money. Republicans usually support Citizens United and frequently block legislative attempts to limit the worst abuses. In a September 2015 Bloomburg poll, Americans think that Citizens United should be overturned by a lopsided 87-17% margin.

How do Americans feel about Medicare and Social Security? Congressional Republicans (led by Paul Ryan) are determined to change Medicare into a scheme in which seniors would receive a premium support (discount coupons) to buy private health insurance. The most recent poll on this idea was conducted by Kaiser in 2014. Paul Ryan's plot is pretty unpopular, supported by only 26% of respondents. In contrast, 66% of the public thinks that we should keep the current Medicare system.

And Social Security is just as popular as Medicare. While the GOP wants to cut benefits and raise the retirement age, Democrats want to defend and strengthen the program. A 2014 Pew Research poll reports that 67% of Americans want no cuts to Social Security. Only 31% feel that some future cuts will be needed.

Climate change denial is almost a requirement for a Republican office holder. Trump's cabinet and Congress are well-stocked with anti-science hacks who do not believe that the earth is warming and actively fight efforts to fix the problem. Yet, according to a 2016 Gallup poll, fully 65% of Americans agree with the science that global warming is caused by human activities.

And Trump's useless and expensive border wall? It is not supported by Americans, either. A September CNN poll found that 58% of Americans oppose building the wall vs 41% who actually want it.

Due to an unfortunate convergence of electoral law vagaries and aggressive gerrymandering, the GOP has found itself with a solid grip on the US government. They achieved this power without the support of a majority of voters. However, Washington GOP politicians are acting as though they have a huge mandate to impose radical change. But on issue after issue, Republicans are out-of-sync with the rest of the country. They are truly a minority party pushing a minority agenda on the rest of us.