Feb 14Liked by Brian Klaas

Excellent, Brian. I just want people to know that some Americans can and do change their minds. I’m one. I lived in Newt Gingrich’s district in my 30s, and idolized him for a long time. I listened to Limbaugh every day. I voted R no matter what. I thought FoxNews was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Gradually my eyes were opened through the GWB years, watching the viciousness & vitriol re: immigrants. One day I literally got sick of my own bullshit, parroted unthinkingly for so long. I realized it was an act, a stance for the purpose of conquest and nothing more. I reconnected with my church and its actual teachings, not the Falwell et. al psycho version. I began to read widely and unplugged the g-d tee vee. Ahhh, silence. It’s golden.

Luckily, my husband has been in lock step with me through this journey. Because guess what? He’s the single person I have left as a likeminded companion. To a man and woman, I’ve lost (shed) 99% of fam & old friends. The pandemic sealed the deal, when the nutty & unhinged political toxins turned humans I knew into lethal weapons. Oh well. You can’t pick the times you’re born in, just your own response to them.

We found you several years ago - pre-pandemic. And we have learned so much from you and value your perspective beyond measure. You’ve given me personally many great & lasting gifts. Thank you.

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My question is "- why haven't we seen the same thing happen to the Democrats? Sure there might be some Congressmen on what people might consider the far left, eg asking to defund the police, but by and large you don't have the same degree of extremism on the Democrats side, at least for now.

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You point to gerrymandering as the source for some of the bizarre outcomes. I thought the point of gerrymandering was to win the overall elections despite having only a slight majority or an outright minority of the votes by drawing smart electoral borders.

Imagine a state with ten representatives in the House and 50% Dems and Reps each. If I draw the borders, I can aim for 1 district with 100% voters of my opponent and nine districts where I'm 55.55% to 44.44% in the majority. This way I get to control the House representation from my state (I'd do the same for the State house and Senate obviously). And if my State has more seats, and I would like to win all but one, the margin decreases from a good ten percent down. Of course, given the uncertainty of elections, you won't aim for much less but the idea remains: "good" gerrymandering leads to one ultra safe seat (for your opponent), and lots of more narrow margins but reasonably safe, ideally, for your own party's candidates.

Of course, this was optimising it for my party. If I don't particular care about the other politicians of my party, I would draw a safe seat for myself but that would lead, overall to less power for my party.

I thought of gerrymandering following the first model above. Your article suggests that here is a lot of the other type of gerrymandering taking place.

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Excellent! One question that I’ve been pondering, how do MTG and LB convert their large followings into $$s?

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