Opinion | Forget Excuses. What Counts Is Winning Elections. – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“In the end it was only a blue ripple, and that should prompt soul-searching among Democrats — particularly as everyone looks ahead to 2020.

Don’t listen to Democrats who portray these midterms as an important triumph. In 2016 and again this year, liberals were unrealistic in their expectations and listened too much to one another and not enough to the country as a whole; if that happens again in the run-up to 2020, heaven help us all.

The reality is that this was nothing like the 2006 midterm defeat for President George W. Bush or the 2010 repudiation of President Barack Obama. Trump was wildly exaggerating when he tweeted Wednesday morning that the election was a “Big Win” for him, but he did O.K. by historical standards. Democrats won the House but lost seats in the Senate; in the 39 midterm elections since 1862, the president’s party had lost Senate seats 24 times and House seats 35 times.

It’s great that for the first time, more than 100 women are expected to serve in the House. But of the three highest-profile Democratic candidates who were repositories of the party’s hopes — Beto O’Rourke, Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum — not a single one won. Yes, the margins were narrow. But while it’s fine to make excuses, it’s better to win elections.”

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Opinion | Voters- You’re Being Manipulated – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“. . . . . HIAS, the Jewish agency whose assistance for refugees infuriated the synagogue attacker (he blamed Jews for bringing in brown people in the caravan from Central America), has been flooded with donations, many from non-Jews. As my own feeble way to challenge hatred, I donated to HIAS on Saturday and suggested to my newsletter readers that they might as well. If we all find our own ways to light a candle, we can drive out the enveloping darkness.

These expressions of our shared humanity are important in and of themselves, but also as a way of fighting back at the fear and loathing that are being weaponized in this election cycle. One example: the breathless fear-mongering about the caravan still almost 1,000 miles away in Mexico.

Let’s be blunt: Voters, you are being manipulated.

President Trump has described the caravan as an “invasion of our country,” and Fox News referred to it as an invasion more than 60 times in October, along with 75 times on Fox Business Network, according to CNN.

This should be a nonstory. As I’ve written, most in the shrinking caravan will never enter the United States and they would amount to less than one-tenth of 1 percent of immigrants this year. In just the period of the caravan’s journey, another 16,800 Americans may die from drugs — a real threat!”

Opinion | It’s Time To Talk About the N.R.A. – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“The massacre of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, allegedly by a man with 21 guns registered to his name, was terrifyingly predictable. Every day in America, about 104 people die from guns, while in Japan it takes about a decade for that many to die from gun violence.

Equally predictable was the response. President Trump and members of Congress denounced the violence but show no signs of actually doing anything to stop it: So Americans will continue to die from guns at a rate of one every 15 minutes.

Why do we Americans kill each other, and ourselves, with guns at such rates? One answer as it relates to the Pittsburgh attack is a toxic brew of hate and bigotry, but the ubiquity of guns leverages hatred into murder. And let’s be blunt: One reason for our country’s paralysis on meaningful action on guns is the National Rifle Association. If we want to learn the lessons of this latest rampage, and try to prevent another one, then let’s understand that saving lives is not just about universal background checks and red flag laws, but also about defanging the N.R.A.”

Opinion | Trump’s Ignoring Our Real ‘National Emergies’ – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“It’s not about immigration. It’s about bigotry.

That’s the real story — to the extent there is a story at all — about the caravan of 5,000 impoverished Central Americans rampaging toward the United States border at, er, two miles an hour.

President Trump, ever the champion speller, declares this to be a “National Emergy”! He may call out the Army! He’s talking about sealing the border!

So, here’s some perspective, by my back-of-envelope calculations:

More than 1.4 million foreigners immigrate to the United States each year. If, say, half the caravan reaches the border, and half of those people actually enter the U.S., they would represent less than one-tenth of 1 percent of this year’s immigrants.

If the caravan proceeds by foot, during the period of its journey 16,800 Americans will die from drugs.

In the period of the caravan’s journey, perhaps 690,000 Americans will become homeless, including 267,000 children.

In the period of the caravan’s journey, 8,850 Americans will die from guns, including suicides and murders.

In the period of the caravan’s journey, perhaps 9,000 Americans will die from lack of health insurance (people die at higher rates when they’re uninsured, although there’s disagreement about how much higher).

Maybe the real “National Emergy” is drugs, homelessness, gun deaths and lack of health insurance?

Opinion | We May Be Able to Get Kevin Cooper Off Death Row – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“The horror began with a nighttime home invasion and the stabbings of a white family, and was compounded when sheriff’s deputies arrested and framed a black man for murder.

That’s my view, and now after 35 years the wheels of justice in California may finally be creaking into motion. I last wrote about the case two months ago, and there’s a hopeful development: Gov. Jerry Brown seems to be moving toward allowing advanced DNA testing that may correct a gross injustice abetted by the police, prosecutors, judges, politicians and journalists.”