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Explaining the Trump/Republican wins by Edd Doerr When all the November 8 votes are tallied it will be seen that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote for President by over 1 million and that Democrats won  more votes than Republicans in the races for the Senate and House. Trump won the electoral college  vote because the rustbelt states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin tipped slightly to  him. Why? Perhaps the best explanation for these 3 states is found in the article, “Illness as indicator” (Link Here), in the November 19 issue of the respected newsweekly The Economist. “The best single predictor” is share of the county votes that switched from Romney in 2012 to Trump in 2016. And the best single indicator there is “an index of public- health statistics.” Pollster Patrick Ruffini drew on data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington on “county level data on life expectancy and the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, heavy drinking and regular physical activity (or lack thereof).” Conclusion: “The data suggest that the ill may have been particularly susceptible to Mr Trump’s message.” And: “The better physical shape a county’s residents are, the worse Mr Trump did than Mr Romney.” Ironically, it is these less healthy voters who will be harmed most if Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid are cut back under a Trump administration and GOP controlled congress.   Clinton’s popular vote win was upset by the electoral college system embedded in the Constitution, which may have made some sense in 1787 but today seriously thwarts democracy. Now for the congressional mess.   Senate. Since each state has two senators, the sparsely populated states like Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Alaska get the same number senators as such heavily populated states as California, Texas, New York and Florida. So a voter in Wyoming counts for far more than one from California.  Advantage: Republicans. Loser: American democracy.   House. While a majority of voters preferred Democrats over Republicans,  gerrymandering and increasing voter suppression have given a decided shift toward rural and conservative white voters. Advantage: Republican. Loser: American democracy.   On balance these various underminings of democracy make it harder for majorities to cope with anthropogenic climate change and world overpopulation, and the increasing threats to women’s rights of conscience on reproductive matters, public education, church-state separation, and religious liberty (all of which have occupied  me full time for over 50 years). We have a lot of work to do, and Americans of all persuasions will need to work together. We can also hope that some congressional Republicans will put their country’s welfare first.
Toni Van Pelt interviewed on First Coast Connect radio show hosted by Melissa Ross. Listen Now 
Dear Members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions: This is submitted on behalf of The Institute for Science and Human Values, a tax-exempt non-profit organization that promotes the well- being of society, the guarantee of various rights, including those of women, racial, ethnic, and other minorities, and supports education, health care, gainful employment, and other social benefits. We ask you to vote against the confirmation of Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor because we do not believe that Mr. Puzder will adequately discharge the primary duty of that post, which is to protect the rights of workers.  Grounds for that belief are based on his anti-employee public record.
Toni Van Pelt
BEYOND MERE RELIGIOUS HYPOCRISY TO POWER AND TREACHERY That religious conservatives are the biggest hypocrites on the planet should come as no surprise to anyone that pays attention to what they say and do. However, they are not merely hypocritical. They are increasingly powerful and downright dangerous! Religious conservatives have the ear of President Trump and seem to be able to make him do their bidding. He seems to feel indebted to them for helping make his highly improbable ascent to the White House a reality. Earlier this month, Trump attended a private service at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. In attendance were James Dobson, founder and head of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and other highly influential leaders of the Christian right. (Read More)
Strong support for the critical Federal data sources Dear Chairmen Cochran and Frelinghuysen and Ranking Members Leahy and Lowey: We write to provide our perspective on, and to express our strong support for, the critical Federal data sources that inform and strengthen our nation’s world-leading economic, educational, democratic and civic institutions and successes.   Our Federal statistical and data systems provide information that is uniquely accurate, objective, relevant, timely and accessible. America’s families, firms and policymakers are able to make informed decisions because they have open access to this unbiased high- quality information.   We are concerned that a lack of appreciation for the critical importance of our Federal statistical and data systems may worsen, and are worried that, after years of insufficient funding, these systems face deeper funding cuts and further marginalization.