John Nichols: Duffy's 'small ask': Disregard democracy

2013-10-13T07:00:00Z John Nichols: Duffy's 'small ask': Disregard democracyJOHN NICHOLS | The Capital Times |

Congressman Sean Duffy was making the rounds of national TV shows last week, proposing his solution for the standoff that created the government shutdown.

The northern Wisconsin Republican said that he and his House colleagues would be delighted to back away from a hardline stance if the Obama administration would simply bow to their “small ask.”

And what was Duffy’s “small ask"?

The congressman was talking about the House GOP’s proposal to scrap essential elements for implementing the Affordable Care Act, a law approved by Congress, signed by the president and approved by the courts.

Here’s what Duffy told Andrea Mitchell on her MSNBC program:

Duffy: You were asking me about the larger issue of why can't people resolve this government shutdown. And we have been incredibly reasonable, making a small ask. And if the president —

Mitchell: Do you consider it a small ask that he get rid of the central part of his health care plan that was upheld by the vote of a presidential election and the United States Supreme Court?

Duffy: Andrea, hold on. That's your spin.

“Your spin”? Seriously?

It certainly sounded as if Duffy was the one doing the spinning.

He was asking the Americans to imagine that this whole shutdown scrap has been about the Affordable Care Act, or about continuing resolutions and the debt ceiling.

But that’s not the case. It’s about the core question — raised by Mitchell — of whether elections matter.

The American people had every opportunity to reject the Affordable Care Act in 2012. As Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says, the GOP ran a “big issues” challenge to Obama and the Democrats. No one could miss that “Obamacare” was an issue.

When voters weighed in, the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan lost every swing state — including Ryan’s Wisconsin.

The GOP ticket lost the Electoral College by an overwhelming 332-206 margin. It lost the popular vote by more than 5 million.

Obama was elected with a higher percentage of the vote than John Kennedy in 1960, Richard Nixon in 1968, Ronald Reagan in 1980, Bill Clinton in 1992 or 1996, and George Bush in 2000 or 2004.

And it did not stop there.

Democrats were supposed to lose Senate seats in 2012. But they instead increased their majority, with a 10 million vote advantage in races nationwide. Among the key winners were ardent Democratic advocates for health care reform, including Congressman Tammy Baldwin, who won Wisconsin’s open seat.

In House races nationwide, Democrats secured a 1.7 million vote advantage. John Boehner remains as House speaker only because of the combination of gerrymandering, election processes that do not always reflect the will of the people, and big money.

Sean Duffy’s “small ask” was not small. It was huge.

It was a proposal that the results of the most recent national elections be set aside so that the losing party could implement its agenda.

John Nichols is associate editor of The Capital Times. @NicholsUprising

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(48) Comments

  1. Dode
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    Dode - October 20, 2013 12:38 pm
    With the surrender by moderate Republicans, the federal government is racking up debt to the tune of $10 billion per day. By next November, unless Present 0bama is stopped, we will be over $20 trillion in debt. Now THAT is disregarding democracy. With that much debt racked up, the sleeping masses should start to wake up and realize the bill of goods they've been sold. Moron moderates like Surrender-at-the-starting-gate McCain have given Zero a nearly unlimited checkbook for the next three months. They need to be sent packing along with 0bama.
  2. Report Abuse
    - October 18, 2013 11:53 am
    The Facts are the prices of HC on the exchange. And the fact that the entire thing doesn't work
  3. Report Abuse
    - October 18, 2013 11:51 am
    His talking points were off the cuff and Spot on. He destroyed all of her arguments.
  4. Report Abuse
    - October 18, 2013 11:51 am
    Talk about spin. What you meant was that the amount being added annually is less than it was in Barack's first 3 years when it was at all time unbelievably high levels. The amount being added to our deficit is still higher than at any other time in US history.....and it is not going to be down far enough soon enough. Do you actually believe any of your own BS or are you just hoping to fool enough of the idiots who don't know better?
  5. AllAmerican11B
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    AllAmerican11B - October 15, 2013 8:28 am
    No, I didn't answer your questions, they were nonsense.

    "Every rational blogger posting here operates with the understanding that they are not required to respond to nonsense arguments or questions presented by other bloggers."

    As Master Po would have said;
    "How is it that you do not understand?"

    Close your eyes and open your mind, Grasshopper. Let inspiration and thought flow freely.

    "If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present. But if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past."

  6. Nav
    Report Abuse
    Nav - October 15, 2013 7:32 am
    No answers to my questions?

    There is nothing inspiring about that statement because it is devoid of real meaning. It says nothing concrete except it uses the term "freedom" to scare people as if they are losing their freedoms

    This is the same when people a few years back said "we want out country back"? From whom? For what purpose?

  7. AllAmerican11B
    Report Abuse
    AllAmerican11B - October 15, 2013 6:49 am
    The statement is there to inspire critical thought about freedom, the government, and what people "expect" from their government; it looks like it inspired you a bit. I'll say no more than the original statement.

    When the majority of the people expect the government to provide everything to them, the government will eventually oblige the people and freedom will be lost.

    Think about it some more.
  8. rick
    Report Abuse
    rick - October 14, 2013 11:29 pm
    It's sad to watch all these republicans wrapping themselves in the flag and voicing outrage about memorials being closed. Ask Duffy, Johnson, Ryan and the rest why they all voted no on the Veterans Jobs Bill. The President wanted it. The Dems pushed it. The gop voted it down. I hope the gov't opens soon so the DOJ can get back to prosecuting Bachman and her hubby. Hopfully both will go to jail.
  9. Nav
    Report Abuse
    Nav - October 14, 2013 9:34 pm
    @AllAmerican 11B,

    The most revered word for conservatives is "freedom" In one of the post on this thread, you write "When the majority of the people expect the government to provide everything to them, the government will eventually oblige the people and freedom will be lost".

    Freedom from what? Freedom for whom?

    Our Government was set up, among other things, to promote the general welfare of the PEOPLE. The Government is made of, by and FOR the people.

    Many Governments of foreign countries do a lot more for their people than does our Government, but I have not heard anyone there complaining they have lost any "freedom". In fact some of the happiest countries in the world are those in which Governments value their people and their welfare.

  10. AllAmerican11B
    Report Abuse
    AllAmerican11B - October 14, 2013 8:42 pm
    When the majority of the people expect the government to provide everything to them, the government will eventually oblige the people and freedom will be lost.
  11. AllAmerican11B
    Report Abuse
    AllAmerican11B - October 14, 2013 8:38 pm
    "There are constitutional ways to challenge laws."

    Please explain in some detail the meaning of that comment.
  12. gkmoynihan
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    gkmoynihan - October 14, 2013 8:31 pm
    No Bookman that is not at all what occurred in this video. Unlike John, please actually watch it.

    What actually happened is that throughout the segment Andrea Mitchell was reading off her crib sheet from the White House without having an iota of real knowledge about any of the issues involved in her attacks on Duffy.

    The most glaring example of this was Andrea's ignorant response to Duffy's assertion that rather than stay on their "gold plated" healthcare plans, Obama, Obama's family and members of his administration should get their health coverage from the exchanges he is imposing on the rest of America. So complete is her (utterly unwarranted) certainty of her own superior intellect relative to some hick in a backwater part of Wisconsin that she actually believed that she trapped Duffy in hypocrisy by charging that "Congress has gold plated health care coverage too".

    Except congress doesn't anymore. Like any average company they are eating their own dog food while Obama, the employees of elite campaign contributors and numerous unions are protected from Obama's train-wreck.

    Please watch:

    All aboard Bookman!
  13. gkmoynihan
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    gkmoynihan - October 14, 2013 8:03 pm
    The annual budget deficit was less than $438 billion when Obama took office. And naturally this mighty sum when combined with a President with an "R" following his name made them weak in the knees.

    For FY 2013 the annual budget deficit is expected to be $750 billion.

    So are you REALLY trying to argue that Obama is somehow a deficit hawk?
  14. gkmoynihan
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    gkmoynihan - October 14, 2013 7:56 pm
    The constitution is law.

    Things that violate the constitution are against the law.

    Are you really arguing that this debt ceiling impasse is against the law?

    Political stupidity is stupid but, last I checked, not illegal.
  15. sebastian
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    sebastian - October 14, 2013 4:46 pm
    Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty.
    Everything is free at last.
  16. HockeyTeam
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    HockeyTeam - October 14, 2013 3:05 pm
    You should have noted that the Federal Budget deficit has been reduced nearly in half since Obama took office. A fairly substantial accomplishment when one takes into account how much of a deficit was run up under the last administration, and how much was left over there was pay for (Irag and Afghanistan). Not to mention the awful state of the economy in 2008.

  17. bookman21
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    bookman21 - October 14, 2013 1:36 pm
    Duffy spent the time shouting down Andrea Mitchell with his rehearsed GOP talking points. For a change he didn't spend any time whining about how hard it is to get by on $174,000 per year.
  18. bookman21
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    bookman21 - October 14, 2013 1:27 pm
    There are constitutional ways to challenge laws.
    Or you can hold your breath until the country turns blue.
  19. aspyder
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    aspyder - October 14, 2013 9:22 am
    @ Cowboy99540

    What do we know about the ACA other than the few points you made? Not too much BUT we have been told Medicare Advantage programs are to be eliminated because of what they cost the government, that employers need to provide healthcare or pay a penalty and ‘Cadillac’ insurance programs, typically union fought for, are to be taxed. These items will help pay, in part, for the ACA so it doesn’t cost the government.

    For political reasons IMHO, Obama has deferred the Medicare Advantage elimination, he has deferred the edict that employers provide insurance or pay a penalty and lastly has give unions a deferral from paying taxes on their ‘Cadillac’ healthcare programs.

    So those without insurance and working will have to buy their own insurance rather than have it provided by their employer, at least for the first year. Yes, they will probably get a ‘kickback’ from the government to defer part of the premium but where is that money coming from if many of the penalties and cost savings measures have been deferred? Can you say, de-fi-cit?

    And in my opinion, once again things are done not because they are the right thing to do but because they are politically expedient.
  20. PapaLorax
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    PapaLorax - October 14, 2013 9:10 am
    and people who think the Democratic party is somehow any different in this regard than the GOP...simply because they pretend to care more about changing the situation.
  21. AllAmerican11B
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    AllAmerican11B - October 14, 2013 9:00 am
    "You need an editor who will focus on logic and ethics."

    Nice dream, MadisonCitizen.
    It'll never happen.
  22. spooky tooth
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    spooky tooth - October 14, 2013 8:59 am

    1% of the US population has more than 40% of all wealth and when you divide up a dollar you find 80% of the people are left to share 7 cents. The truth is the US is a few million miles away from communism or socialism and 1/2 block away from a Plutocratic Government, bought and paid for by a few greedy, sick billionaires like your leaders the Koch brothers.

    Propaganda coming from 24/7 Fox and Hate Radio shamelessly separate gullible Americans from their money by making them afraid of their own shadow.
  23. AllAmerican11B
    Report Abuse
    AllAmerican11B - October 14, 2013 8:47 am
    Once a bill is passed by the legislature and signed into law, all opposition to said law should cease immediately. Any and all future opposition to a law should be deemed trivial nonsense and be smeared by the media as acts of terror. Yup, once a bill becomes the "law of the land" it should never again be challenged; that's how our government should work.

    Really think about that for a while.
  24. MadisonCitizen
    Report Abuse
    MadisonCitizen - October 14, 2013 8:37 am
    John - this is a shameful opinion piece. You are either not very smart (and didn't understand the video) or you are deliberately misleading. I bet misleading.

    The small ask is that individuals get the same 1 year delay that President Obama gave to businesses and that the ACA rules apply to Congress.

    By not mentioning WHAT his small ask is (per the headline), you are deliberately leaving out the facts of the argument. I understand you disagree with the tactics employed by the Republicans, but your smear campaigns show a lack of integrity. You need an editor who will focus on logic and ethics.
  25. PapaLorax
    Report Abuse
    PapaLorax - October 14, 2013 8:00 am
    So you have come around to accepting Act 10 as the law of the state? Something that clearly was voted on in an election and upheld by the Supreme won't ask future democrat politicians to ever take a stand regarding collective bargaining?
  26. Report Abuse
    - October 14, 2013 7:56 am
    Really? How can you interpret it that way? It is Obama who is saying exactly that.
  27. Report Abuse
    - October 14, 2013 7:55 am
    Do you mean like when the minority of Senators Leave the State for 3 weeks and hide so they can't lose a vote on a bill?
  28. Report Abuse
    - October 14, 2013 7:54 am
    Please show me the GOP bill in the past month that tried to put aside ACA? Did they try to defund it? NO. Just as Sean Duffy says in the interview....The ACA is in place, the exchanges are open, and the GOP had 1 small ask. Why doesn't Barack and Michelle use it? Why won't they give a 1 year delay to the individual mandate? Even on these pages every Liberal comment refuses to answer these 2 simple questions and they spin it to say the GOP is trying to overturn.
  29. Report Abuse
    - October 14, 2013 7:50 am
    Nichols completely misrepresents what Duffy said. If you've watched the video you'll see that Sean totally destroys andrea's arguments and makes very good reasonable points. Nichols comments are not based on facts, as he takes comments out of context, slices and dices the text to change the meaning and then makes an argument against his revised version. Pretty pathetic John when you can't make a point straight up against the actual comment but need to edit, cut and paste.
  30. Retired PE
    Report Abuse
    Retired PE - October 14, 2013 6:36 am
    Duffy is simply another Tea Party shill. Go back to reality television from which you came, Sean! Take Ron Johnson with you because you two are almost neighbors in northern WI. YOU shut down the government, not the Democrats. Most (not all) Americans aren't that stupid to beleive that latest Tea Party spin to pass the blame.
  31. Retired PE
    Report Abuse
    Retired PE - October 14, 2013 6:32 am
    Logicguy, that's because the "majority" of Americans have absolutely no idea what the ACA even is and have been brainwashed by the GOP/Tea Party that it should be hated. Sheesh! Most Americans, when interviewed, hate "Obamacare" but like the "ACA." In other words, they don't know it's the same thing! I have never been interviewed, and I am all in favor of the ACA.
  32. Dode
    Report Abuse
    Dode - October 14, 2013 12:32 am
    Johnny celebrates the fact that Present 0bama and his cronies are exempt from ZeroCare but then he wants to push that piece of excrement on us. That is typical of the ruling elite in Communist countries. The populous worked and paid so the masters and their friends could party and enjoy the good times. Then they had their lapdog media tell the citizens how important they were to the country. Thank you, Congressman Duffy, for sticking up for the citizens of this country. Too bad the comrades here aren't bright enough to see the light. SHAME.
  33. Cowboy99540
    Report Abuse
    Cowboy99540 - October 14, 2013 12:23 am
    Dear Readers:

    I'm honored that GOP operative, 196ski, felt compelled to offer a weak rebuttal to all I put forth on republican trickery and sorcery, as it concerns how the GOP screws over our nation's young folks.

    It's too bad that ski-Tea is a propagandist who is out to intentionally mislead people about the ACA. He or she probably also agrees pretty much with Sean Duffy and Ted Cruze so what does that tell you?.

  34. freddiebell
    Report Abuse
    freddiebell - October 13, 2013 10:19 pm
    Yet again, Logicguy, since you seem so tone deaf on the issue ... the one poll that mattered was taken in November 2012. Your team came up short. If you believe that elections have consequences (see: Scott Walker 2010, 2012), then you have to accept that it works both ways, not just your way.
  35. freddiebell
    Report Abuse
    freddiebell - October 13, 2013 10:15 pm
    Ditto the comments of davea. Do you have evidence to back up your assertions, correctthinking? Or is it just a good cleansing rant on your part? It's pretty tedious stuff to have to sit through -- yet again. We've certainly heard it all plenty of times before. Yawn.
  36. Cowboy99540
    Report Abuse
    Cowboy99540 - October 13, 2013 6:26 pm
    Well said, Maerzie!

    These Teapublicans (or more commonly, used Tea Bags) are a vicious lot of thugs, aren't they?

    They spew hate and exude greed like it is grease on an axle so they use it to grease the axles of large corporations while fattening the pocket books of those in the upper 2% bracket.

    What Americans need to do is exactly what they have been doing lately. I'm talking about, with this Affordable Care Act issue and the Teapublican's oblivious stupidity in calling Obama's bluff by foolishly shutting down the U.S. Government to get their way.

    By the way, speaking of polls, has anyone been watching the latest national polls on the Dems chances of taking back the House in 2014?

    That's what I mean by "most Americans doing exactly what they need to be doing right now", which is paying very close attention to who deserves to be vanquished and punished.

    That includes our proud north wood's very own, Sean Duffy, and all the other Tea Piggy House members that were stupid enough to go along with a moron like Ted Cruze. By going along, I mean that they are swilling down Ted's lethal Koolaid like pigs.

    That's too bad for the Tea-piggies, because instead of sticking to their usual laced psychedelic electric (making republicans crazy) tea", that they no doubt have been drinking the last few years, they now are drinking the sh*t that's got them jumping off a political cliff.

    In any case, after this one, I'm afraid that the entire GOP might be doomed!

    Now wouldn't that be just too bad?

  37. Report Abuse
    - October 13, 2013 5:33 pm
    Exactly! As usual Nichols adds precisely the Spin that Duffy predicted. He cuts off the comments of Duffy and attempts to portray the GOP proposals as attempts to shut down ACA, which they aren't. Just look at the Actual bills the house passed. They asked for a 1 year delay for individuals just like Obama gave the lobbiests who will pay him back later. Obama has made dozens of changes to ACA, but never any the GOP have proposed. John's commentary is not only off the mark, it isn't even aiming at the correct target.
  38. aspyder
    Report Abuse
    aspyder - October 13, 2013 4:40 pm
    In 1995 and '96, the government shut down twice, for 26 days total. That was the longest shutdown in history. But there have been more than a dozen since the '70s. There was the shutdown of 1976 during a budget debate been President Ford and a Democratic Congress.
    There was a 12-day shutdown in '77, under President Jimmy Carter. It focused on abortion funding. There was a shutdown in 1981 after President Reagan deadlocked with Democrats over tax cuts.

    But then we have the words of fearless leader himself regarding the upcoming desired Debt Limit increase, to wit:
    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
    - Sen. Obama, March 20, 2006 (National Debt on that date was $8.3 trillion)

    How's that for some good reasons to justify voting against raising the debt ceiling? Leadership failure, reckless fiscal policies, debt problem, think of the children, America deserving better. It almost makes you want to jump to attention and salute.

    Now move forward to today, a little over 7 years later, the National Debt is $16.7 trillion; TWICE what is was on the day of that great oration. But now this very same individual, that great orator, “The buck stops here” Obama, IS the Chief Executive, the primary leader, and suddenly voting against raising the debt ceiling is the irresponsible thing to do and his position is not negotiable. What happened to leadership failure, reckless fiscal policies, debt problem, think of the children, America deserving better? BUT ESPECIALLY THE CHILDREN!!! the reason everything is done.

    Here is a little fact check regarding our misspeaker-in-chief:
  39. Maerzie
    Report Abuse
    Maerzie - October 13, 2013 4:31 pm
    Thank you, John Nichols, for this much-needed article, FULL of factual fodder to dispel the ignorance the Teapublicans are imagining!
  40. gkmoynihan
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    gkmoynihan - October 13, 2013 4:20 pm
    The segment John is referring to is here.

    As usual he is completely misrepresenting the exchange.

    The "small ask" was absolutely NOT to "scrap essential elements for implementing the Affordable Care Act, a law approved by Congress, signed by the president and approved by the courts"

    The "small ask" was to simply extend the same delay granted to large corporations to regular people.

    Instead, come March, Obama will begin penalizing individuals who are unable to acquire insurance from his broken $600 million website.

    Good times.
  41. ArchieBunkersKidBrother
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    ArchieBunkersKidBrother - October 13, 2013 2:49 pm
    You're right - the poll taken in November 2012 was not subject to gerrymandering or voter ID. Your party lost that poll and it was a referendum on Obama and his job performance. We decided to give him another 4 years and to try ObamaCare on for size. Get over it.
  42. everclear
    Report Abuse
    everclear - October 13, 2013 2:19 pm
    The last election was about Obama care, in case you don't know it Obama won by a large margin. Please don't post after you watch Sean Hannity.
  43. Logicguy
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    Logicguy - October 13, 2013 11:24 am
    Here is another uncomfortable fact: the MAJORITY of Americans do not want ObamaCare. And these polls are not subject to Gerrymandering or voter ID.
  44. Wis_taxpayer
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    Wis_taxpayer - October 13, 2013 10:33 am
    That's the word to describe what Tea Party Republicans have done in the past two weeks, shutting down the government and threatening to send our economy into recession or even worse turmoil by defaulting on our financial obligations.

    Radical is the label to pin to a party that loses an election and then demands the implementation of their agenda or else the country gets it.

    And that's the word Democrats need to hang around the neck of every Republican on the ballot in 2014, especially those running for the House of Representatives.

    A year is an eternity in politics, but we need to make sure that voters remember the Tea Party Republican radicalism of 2013 when they head to the voting booth 13 months from now.

    We need a national campaign that ties every Republican candidate to the Tea Party, to John Boehner, and to Ted Cruz. We need voters to see any candidate associated with those characters as not capable of being a responsible representative.

    November 4th 2014.... Wisconsin and the Country gets it's say.
  45. Zoltan
    Report Abuse
    Zoltan - October 13, 2013 10:29 am
    Duffy sounds like the old line attributed to the Soviets by the Hungarians after the war: What's yours is mine, and what's mine is mine.
  46. davea
    Report Abuse
    davea - October 13, 2013 9:09 am
    Why don't you show some "facts" to back up your comments? Start by looking up the definition of "fact".
  47. correctthinking
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    correctthinking - October 13, 2013 8:24 am
    Pretty hard to argue with Democrats, only top of the line models can think for themselves, most are from the "stick it to anyone who makes money, is a success, and thinks they have to give it all away because the rest of you aren't as well off as they are". Better yet, the old Robin Hood theory, taught at Berkeley and brought forth to Madison, known to all as Berkeley East. DEMS to shoved this crap down the American people are finding out by the millions that the Affordable Care Act, ain't so affordable. Typical tax and spend liberals.
  48. ArchieBunkersKidBrother
    Report Abuse
    ArchieBunkersKidBrother - October 13, 2013 7:33 am
    Pretty hard to argue with facts. That's why Republicans hate facts, it's why they gerrymander land push voter ID. They don't want facts to keep them from winning elections because their belief system isn't endorsed by the majority of American voters and will never be again. Goodbye.
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