Introducing Seeking Common Ground

Black Mountain Dems and Friends Planning are developing a new two-part messaging approach intended to be accurate, effective, persuasive, approach for the open-minded -- Dems, Independents, Republicans, the borderline, whoever.

             ·       COUNTERPOINTS:  Stating contrary views,  reframing falsehoods.
             ·       ACROSS THE AISLE: Proposing that the way to reverse divisiveness is through honest
                     and civil dialogue, focusing on specific issues, accepting diverse opinions, agreeing to
                     disagree, but always seeking common ground  and higher ground leading to policies we can
                     agree on.

                                                            SOME OF THEM SAY – SOME OF US SAY - ACROSS THE AISLE
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*VOTING RIGHTS - FREEDOM TO VOTE ACT S. 2747 (as of 10/8)

Status:  This is Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-WV) slimmed down improvement over the FOR THE PEOPLE ACT (S.1), now abandoned for lack of Dem Senate caucus support and total Republican opposition.  S. 2747 expands voter registration and early voting, creates a nationwide right to mail-vote forbidding notarization/witnesses, requires ballots counted if in the right county but wrong precinct, curbs  2021 gerrymandering and laws making it harder to vote.  It drops GOP-opposed same day registration and voting, stand-alone drop boxes, nonpartisan outside grants to help run elections.  Given hardcore GOP opposition, passage would require a carve-out (i.e., all 50 Dem caucus members making a one-time exception to the filibuster).  A Senate procedural vote could occur before mid-October. Senators Sinema and Kelly positions on the bill are unknown --they are not among the 7 Senate Dem caucus co-sponsors  Nor are their positions known on a  one-time carve-out on this bill or others.

Some of them say as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made clear last June that he isn’t interested in any voting-rights legislation, specifically in Manchin's or in the John Lewis Voting Rights Act (restoring the 1965 Civil Rights Act). They have said there is no voter-suppression epidemic -- bills passed by GOP legislatures improve election integrity.  Americans today have an easier time registering and voting than at any time in our nation’s history. They oppose federalizing elections, saying states should administer elections.

Some of us say don’t let them take away your vote. Per the Constitution, the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter state electoral regulations, the basis for 1960's civil rights acts eliminating southern blatant disenfranchising of Black votes.  n 2020 the four states (GA, AZ, MI, PA) where the greatest number of voting-restriction bills have been filed despite no “significant voting irregularities” were among the closest state presidential contests.  

ACROSS THE AISLE.  Since it's in the interests of us all that we have election integrity, accurately count and certify the ballots of all eligible voters, have nonpartisan audits, transparency, etc., let's explore bipartisan ways to make improvements.
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*VOTING RIGHTS - NATIVE AMERICAN VOTING RIGHTS ACT (NAVRA)
(as of 10/8)

Status:  A bipartisan proposal to provide Native Americans equal access to voting by allowing tribes to determine voter registration & polling & drop box sites and require tribal consent to be closed,  have tribal ID accepted as voter ID, establish state-level task forces to address unique tribal voting issues.  

Some of them say [House bill HR 5008 co-sponsor US Rep Tom Cole R-OK] it is an awfully honest effort to address a real problem without it becoming partisan.  So, far Republicans have not commented.

Some of us say the courts rejected the lawsuit, the Trump Dept. of Justice argued against it (a matter for Congress), and the Act held, namely, Congress counts the electoral votes and certifies the presidential election winner,  a pro forma exercise.  GOP then majority leader McConnell said Hawley's challenge could have sent our democracy into a "death spiral" if this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side... public doubt alone cannot justify a radical break, when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence.

ACROSS THE AISLE.  Clarifying amendments to the Act would meet GOP stated policy -- no federal encroachment on state-run elections, election integrity, and voter confidence, making it easier to defy pressure to overturn certified votes. Isn't it in the interests of both parties to have candidates with the majority of eligible voter votes win?  Let's talk.
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*EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT  *ERA  (As of 10/7)

Some of them say NO, citing no need, the time to amend has elapsed, it's unconstitutional, it would expand what they don’t want expanded:  access to contraception, abortion rights, equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, equal pay for equal work, more female job promotions.

Some of us say YES, Women still suffer unequal rights, are without permanently constitution-guaranteed equality that would address the  vicissitudes of state and federal lawmakers on women equality.  What congress has done -- the elapsed cutoff date, congress can undo.   The question is not their constitutional experts vs. ours -- that's for the courts.  Nine of 10 Dems, six of ten Republicans support.

ACROSS THE AISLE.  
Join the increasing bipartisan support for this amendment whose time has come.  Engage with us separately on other concerns, such as no-choice vs. choice (i.e., pro-life vs. women’s rights), LGBTQ rights, and their current legal protections.  Tell us why you want to deny women a long and very desired constitutional protection.
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*INFRASTRUCTURE (As of 10/11)

Status:  On 8/11 the Senate overwhelming passed a $1T bipartisan infrastructure proposal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) to improve roads, bridges, pipes, ports, internet connections.  A House vote is pending consensus among Dems on coordinating  a vote on it with a separate vote on the larger $1.5T to $2.3+T more extensive infrastructure proposal (Build Back Better Act) that if all 50 Dems Caucus support, can pass via reconciliation.  

ACROSS THE AISLE.
: MANY hurdles still to go, and on a separate, related, more comprehensive infrastructure bill, originally $3.5T that likely will be scaled way back.
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