back to article Kotkin: Why Trump won

Why did Donald Trump win? He filled a vacuum that was vacated by both Democratic and Republican parties, says Joel Kotkin. Kotkin is one of a small handful of writers who highlighted the role of Silicon Valley's oligarchs in American society. No fan of The Donald ("a horror" is how he described him back in June when we talked …

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

Somehow denying Donald the election is not going to happen:

1) When you put your "X" next to the Donald's name, you are actually choosing his slate of electors to represent your state in the college. Donald names his slate of electors for each state. Who are the most rabid Donald supporters in your state?--you'll find a good number of them by looking at the Donald's slate of electors.

2) Congress is controlled by Republicans and is going to wave the results out of the Electoral College through. Donald won the Presidency, and while a lot of Republicans in Congress would have preferred Jeb Bush or Ben Carson or somebody else, if they wave the Donald through they get to pass bills out of Congress and Donald will pretty much sign all of them. The only check on this is if the Dems can hold together a filibuster in the Senate. If Congress fails to validate the results out of the college, then they lose President Trump, his campaign and his more vociferous supporters, split the Republican Party, and look like loons bringing on constitutional chaos.

Meanwhile there is still Hillary Clinton in the wings with support of a tiny majority of the American electorate, much of big business and wall street and all of the media and entertainment industries. Congressional Republicans who think they can deny the Donald and put one of their own in the Oval Office would be playing right into the Democrat's hands

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

It is not like it is quick and simple to change, the electoral college is set in the constitution. To propose an amendment changing it requires passing by a 2/3rds of the House and 2/3rds of the Senate; then 3/4 (38 of 50) states.

It is not like the big state vs little state is a new dynamic either, there were a lot of concessions that had to be made for the original 13 separate countries as they saw themself at the time to pool political sovereignty. Rural and swing state governments would literally be voting to lose influence further to the biggest states which are already seen as having more influence and advantages.

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

> "Trump's win resulted from nothing more than a series of razor-thin margins..."

Incorrect. Very few of the state results were razor thin. The States with huge megacities went for Clinton by double digits, while practically everywhere else went Trump, often by very large majorities. The country is split alright, between the large cities and the people in flyover country.

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Re: @AC It's not "why", it's "how"

"I consider felons losing their right to vote an atrocity and not worthy a nation that once view itself as the beacon of freedom."

Try the UK. They remove our right to vote after 15 years outside the country.

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Re: @AC It's not "why", it's "how"

On of the oddities is a felon can be elected for office - and have - even if they can't vote.

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

"The States with huge megacities went for Clinton by double digits, while practically everywhere else went Trump, often by very large majorities."

Need to get you a map.

He won texas, florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio. States with "huge megacities"

Hate won

Hope lost

Interesting to watch the dismay on the right when he can't fulfill his promises.

Just like the anger on the left with Obama not making all their wishes come true.

In this case they'll find reality is a b*stard

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

"How many US citizens (let alone people in the world) actually understand this process?"

Probably not many :-)

I was interested to see from the count stats that it appears Trumps party merely retained their share of the vote, Clintons party lost some of their share and the overall turnout, despite the press reports of "mass turnouts" amongst certain racial groupings, remained more or less the same. As an outsider, it seems to me that Trump "won" based on either Clintons supporters not turning out or voting for one of the other candidates in protest. In other words, Trump didn't "beat" Clinton, Clinton lost her own supporters to "don't like our own candidate, vote for anyone other than Trump or Clinton"

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

"And it is a fact that damn few US citizens understand the process."

Sadly, that's not a problem unique to the USA. Here in the UK we had people claiming Gordon Brown was never elected as Prime Minister and again, that Theresa May was not elected as Prime Minister.

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@Rainer -- Re: @AC It's not "why", it's "how"

Have look here at felons and voting. Many, if not most, states do allow felons to vote either after serving their time or after a period time after release.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_disenfranchisement

https://exoffenders.net/felon-voting-rights/ This site further breaks down the various state rules.

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

I understood it from the start. And I don't even live in the U.S., let alone a citizen.

After all, I have read "Bio of a Space Tyrant" by Piers Anthony.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bio_of_a_Space_Tyrant

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Re: ID

You mean the dead should not be allowed to send in their postal votes?

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

> I do not recall a single case when the electoral college has voted against what

> they were elected to vote for.

It has happened. A total of 157 times since the USA was founded.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faithless_elector

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC It's not "why", it's "how"

Where I live (Maryland), to vote all I was asked was my name, address, and month/day of my birth. I didn't have to show any ID.

But you were white, so no problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Popular Vote (It's not "why", it's "how")

Lets base it on an IQ test, double digits, family history of in breeding no vote.....<G>

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Unhappy

""I consider felons losing their right to vote an atrocity "

British prison inmates can't vote in UK elections.

CMD fought the EU court ruling to maintain the UK right to deny them this.

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

"Here in the UK we had people claiming Gordon Brown was never elected as Prime Minister and again, that Theresa May was not elected as Prime Minister."

To be fair, neither of them were. What people don't understand is that they don't vote for a PM they vote for a party, but the political system has become so personality driven it's hard to see the difference. Once the leader of the elected party steps aside the party can choose a successor, its just that if it happens to be in government we end up with a new PM.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

A variety of techniques have been alleged in the past to deter or otherwise create a barrier to a citizen voting. That it is blatant gerrymandering based upon an exaggeration of the actual amount of voter fraud is the issue.

There also did use to be a law that meant that States with a history of gerrymandering through voter registration (poll taxes, see Harman v. Forssenius for instance, or literacy tests) had make extra effort to counter such practices. (the Voting Rights Act of 1965)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_suppression_in_the_United_States

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_ID_laws_in_the_United_States

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

I find this good comment, just one thing to add. In this elections Democrats cannot blame third party candidates for the loss in most states, including Michigan. The thing is that, just as Stein took votes from Hillary, Johnson took votes from Trump (and Johnson had 3 times as many votes as Stein). So in my opinion, had third party candidates been forbidden, Trump would have added more or less all 3.6% from Johnson, and Hillary could have counted on Stein voters - 1.1%, so the difference would have been even bigger for Trump - which I find amazing but that is how I see it. Hillary could consider herself practically lucky that Johnson and Stein were in the race, because Johnson took more votes from Trump than Stein from Hillary.

http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/michigan-president-clinton-trump

But I would say that discussion about third party candidates is missing the point. If Democrats cannot win against Trump who, in my opinion, at one time or another, insulted every group of people in America, then they have only themselves to blame and not Stein, Johnson or Facebook.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

What people don't understand is that they don't vote for a PM they vote for a party

I've never seen a party written solely on a ballot paper for a general election. No PR in general elections and only one person chooses the PM in Britain.

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

If you want to be picky people vote for a person, that person is (usually) a potential MP of a party, and the party that forms a working majority wins, usually with the same leader as entered the election.

It should be technically possible for MPs that won a majority of constituency vote to immediately switch affiliation, for the winning party to thus change, or even if it won for the PM to instantly change.

Hell, in the snowball chance in hell scenario, shouldn't it be possible for the PM to decide to quit as an MP, switch to an opposing party, have that gain a majority and continue on as the PM leading the opposing party..

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faithless_elector

That was interesting. As an outside it seems pointless bother with the electoral college at all, at least for those states which enforce voting only for the pledged candidate.

My reading of the process and the background for why the EC exists seems to be a safety valve put in place in case an outright corrupt nutjob "wins" and so can be rejected by "the great and the good" but the system itself has been subverted into a rubber stamp "tradition" process. Probably by a lack "great and good" people.

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Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

"To be fair, neither of them were. What people don't understand is that they don't vote for a PM they vote for a party, but the political system has become so personality driven it's hard to see the difference. Once the leader of the elected party steps aside the party can choose a successor, its just that if it happens to be in government we end up with a new PM."

Exactly my point. We never vote for a Prime Minister unless we happen to live in the party leaders constituency, they win, they retain the leadership AND the head of state invites said leader to form a government. There has been at least one instance in the past where the monarch chose a person not even elected to Parliament and asked him to form a government, which he did, and therefore was truly an unelected Prime Minister.

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I wonder what happens...

When he proves to be no up to all this proposed change?

(Wondering much the same after the Brexit is finalised and the UK has been out for a while and nothing much changes).

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Anonymous Coward

Criminal Enterprise

I'm sure I am not the only one fed up with articles telling me why I voted the way I did.

I voted against the Democrats in the hope we could:

1) Return to the rule of law. The executive branch is not exempt.

2) Prevent the use of government agencies as tools to persecute the opposition.

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Re: Criminal Enterprise

Prevent the use of government agencies as tools to persecute the opposition.

Are we talking about the FBI's antics in the last couple of weeks? The eight Benghazi investigations of the last couple of years? Blocking the CDC from reporting on firearm violence? The state (Georgia?) whose legislature voted to ban civil servants from mentioning climate change in any official report about flooding or extreme weather?

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Re: Criminal Enterprise

Out of curiosity - what makes you think that the Republicans in general and Trump in particular will be any better?

Or is that just a high faluting way of saying you fancied a change?

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Re: Criminal Enterprise

Odd choice since Drumpf has advocated doing exactly what you don't want happening.

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Re: Criminal Enterprise

The state (Georgia?) whose legislature voted to ban civil servants from mentioning climate change in any official report about flooding or extreme weather?

That would be Florida. They have denied doing so, but not very convincingly.

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Re: Criminal Enterprise

"Odd choice since Drumpf has advocated doing exactly what you don't want happening."

Not so odd when you consider that for most elected officials, the odds that they'll do exactly the opposite of what they pledged (While still paying lip service to the the claims) are much better than even.

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Re: Criminal Enterprise

*Prevent the use of government agencies as tools to persecute the opposition.*

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/trump-ally-says-first-thing-hell-do-as-president-is-prosecute-hillary-clinton-and-put-that-woman-in-prison/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Criminal Enterprise

No, the use of the IRD to harass opponents, and don't try to deny that happened, they not only admitted it but Federal judges have ruled that they're still doing it. This was one of the major complaints against Nixon that he tried to sic the IRS onto his opponents, but they wouldn't. Obama didn't even have to cross that line, the IRS was sufficiently colonized by Democrats that they did it anyway and all Obama had to do was provide cover. No one has punished (retiring on a full pension with a bonus is not a punishment as such) for this highly illegal action.

And all the MSM, the elite commentariat stayed nearly entirely quiet on this. Well, if Trump does the same in reverse will you just accept it as well ?

The various Clinton investigations, well, the easy answer was appoint an Independent Prosecutor or appoint a grand jury to investigate; someone/something at least nominally independent. But they wouldn't do that because then Clinton would be too hard to protect. Face it, she's a crook and has been one for a long time. No one else in the USA would get away with what she's been allowed to get away with.

From the FBI evidence that has been released we can be quite certain that she is guilty of three serious crimes: Perjury before a federal Judge (stating that she released all relevant emails from her time at State, we know for certain that she did not); Obstruction of Justice (subpoena issued 3 March to retain existing emails, 25 March over 33,000 deleted and wiped); and Security breaches which do NOT require intent to be proven. All of those carry the threat of serious jail time. I suggest you review the cases of Scooter Libby and Martha Stewart for an idea on how those crimes may be treated for non-elite Democrats.

The rule of law must apply to everyone, giving high placed criminals like Clinton a free pass is antithetical to democracy and the very concept of equality before the law.

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A couple of things

First, GW Bush lost the 2008 election as much as Obama won it. Once people got their 3rd quarter 401K results, John McCain was doomed. A lot of people who should have known better took the 2008 results to be the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. It is not impossible that Obama did also. Certainly, he acted as if he had more of a mandate than he did.

Second, the Democratic Party painted itself into a corner starting in 2000, assuming that the happiness of the Clinton 1990s would carry through. The leadership ignored the ill will that for some bad reasons and some good ones attached to Hillary Clinton. I suppose that she could have won in 2008; but she was selling inevitability, and once Obama put a crack in that belief, she could not get the nomination. In any case, she is not the politician her husband is. She has never needed to be.

Third, in my day one learned about the Electoral College in grade school. As best I can recall, there has very seldom been an elector who disregarded instructions--three or four since 1800.

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Town vs country:

http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about/

(The map looks remarkably similar to the Labour vs Tory map of the UK.)

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Anonymous Coward

Astonishing to see a good article from Cracked, but I have to say, it's absolutely on point. If you don't live here, it's almost impossible to comprehend just how large the country is, and just how many rural communities there are. And yes, they're dying. Throughout my childhood, I watched as just a few hours north, the paper mills died one by one. Entire towns all but vanished.

On the coast, the fishermen whose families have lived their for literally hundreds of years are being driven away by higher taxes on their land, because NY millionaires want summer homes on the water. They've never known anything else but the sea and their way of life, where do they go?

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Anonymous Coward

Catch this video by Some Black Guy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wylLtpnT31w

Spot On and hilariously funny.

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Why is it that the most watchable political screeds from minorities come from those who have turned against their masters in the Democrat party? I guess it's the righteous anger at being screwed for so long, starting with Democrat slave holders and then the Jim Crow Democrats of the Old South, right up to today's Dem party that just assumes blacks are theirs forever. Because, racism!

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LDS
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"Hillary would surely have succeeded on competence in any other election, no?"

No. She would have lost easily much earlier to any other sensible candidate - in many ways Trump was lucky his contender was Ms. Clinton.

Why the Democratic Party had only one candidate (but an outsider with no chances like Sanders)? She would have lost the nomination too against any sensible Democratic candidate - so "somebody" ensured there were none - strange, because there was no president seeking for a second mandate.

Why Clinton didn't keep the Secretary of State role? Was it a cunning calculation to stay away from any current administration mistake? Was her stint at that place a show of competence, or not? Lots of mistakes, in the US foreign policies, in those years. Obama's ones, or Clinton's ones? Having been a US lawyer and a President's wife doesn't endow you with magical foreign matters knowledge - if's a field that requires of lot of time actually spent abroad and on the specific matter.

As a Senator, did she show much competence?

Someone, I don't remember who exactly now, wrote that Ms. Clinton was a very weak candidate, under many aspects. She was kept afloat by Trump being a real risk, but it wasn't enough.

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Re: "Hillary would surely have succeeded on competence in any other election, no?"

"Why the Democratic Party had only one candidate (but an outsider with no chances like Sanders)?"

There were two other candidates - Martin O'Mally, and Jim Webb. They were totally ignored by the media for the Hill vs Bern show.

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Re: "Hillary would surely have succeeded on competence in any other election, no?"

Remember, Trump was the Republican nominee because he was the only Republican Hillary Clinton could hope to beat. She and the media made a concerted effort to make sure he was the nominee, just like they made sure she was the Democratic nominee. Remember during the Democratic debate when the moderator refused to let Jim Webb speak at all? Now you understand...

The Clinton's have always been good at legalese "None of those emails was MARKED classified". She never ran on competence, she ran on EXPERIENCE. This is experience in the Dilbert sense of the word. In the "You messed up the entire Middle East, you have a lot of foreign policy EXPERIENCE."

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Re: "Hillary would surely have succeeded on competence in any other election, no?"

"There were two other candidates - Martin O'Mally, and Jim Webb. They were totally ignored by the media for the Hill vs Bern show."

Or should that be the 'Bernie Hill Show'? Given all the confounding antics the main candidates in this election were up to suits a Yackety Sax theme tune.

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Coat

Times, they are a changin'

FD: Canadian. Born in Mass. Decided, when things were what they were in 75, that it was not a good thing to be a geeky, awkward teenager with a US passport visiting relatives in the US.

@J.RH -> yes, yes you do, in general.

Trump. How the Hell did they elect trump?.

There's lots going around about Bigotry, Hate, Misogyny, White Male, etc.

Kotkin's got the right idea. What is stunning is that no one has noted just *who* has been stuck to his side all the way through.

Trump is for "Change".

Hillary is for "More of the Same".

I seriously seriously doubt that the vast majority of Hillary voters voted because she going to continue the oligarchic evolution that has been happening in the US for the last 40 years.

I seriously seriously doubt that the vast majority of the Trump voters voted because he is going to run around grabbing pussies and shooting Muslims and kicking Mexican landscapers out of the country.

What happened here was that Hillary represented "more of the same" and Trump represented "change".

What change? - for some: kick those wimmins rights actinazis in the nuts

for some: kick those black lives matter twats off our streets.

for some: lock them furriner terrists up before they bomb my walmart

for some: drop that trade deal that will cost me my job.

But - -the HUGE majority on the street, just want the overall political entity that owns the US -> From the breakfast table to the 4 pillars to be changed.

Not all Trump voters are misogynistic, racist, religious nuts, even if *some* of them are. Most of them are just tax payers who've watched things from the late 80's devolve in the excited snakes and honestly believed that Trump could do something. ANYTHING to change the course the country was on.

Well. I'm quite sure things will change. They always do. Not sure if *any* of us are ready for the ride. But it will happen.

Just a suggestion in my view. If you have any debt anywhere, pay it off. now.

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Re: Times, they are a changin'

Look back at the Obama campaign - the voters then thought they were voting for change.

Did they get it?

Not really. He got some changes through, he didn't get a lot of others he wanted. Chances are, a lot of those changes will be rolled back under the new administration.

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Anonymous Coward

Labels, labels, labels . .

Not for the first time reading an AO piece I find myself baffled by the labels used, e.g. 'a "coalition of elites", such as academics, greens and minorities'.

I'm sorry, since when are minorities an elite? Did I miss a meeting? Either that or 'elites' doesn't mean what I think it does.

Also, every use of the word appears to be pejorative. What about the positive aspects of elites; elite athletes, thinkers, innovators?

I think I grasp what is being attempted to convey but when fairly common words seem to be bearing new and unfamiliar weights I really can't be sure. Since this isn't, in essence, a political site what about speaking in general terms, i.e. normal usage of words, for those of us with a casual interest?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Labels, labels, labels . .

"I'm sorry, since when are minorities an elite? Did I miss a meeting?"

A few, by the sound of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Labels, labels, labels . .

The talk of elites is slightly misleading in that what is actually happening is a battle for power between two different elite groups - I thought this was even clearer in the UK for Brexit.

BTW, I liked the comment on the Last Leg yesterday (from memory):

"its true, in America anyone really can be elected president - even a rich white guy"

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Re: Labels, labels, labels . .

"I'm sorry, since when are minorities an elite?"

Oligarchies.

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Re: Labels, labels, labels . .

I would say that the only sense of "minorities" in this context would be that if you add a few members of minority groups into the mix, you can look more diverse than perhaps you are. Having said that, it is as pointless to talk of minorities in that sense as it is to talk of "white privilege" without clarifying whether you mean the coder in Silicon Valley or the miner in West Virginia.

Americans love elites, provided they can determine the grounds of their election. The NFL draft gets a lot of press coverage. Are you a Navy SEAL? Men will in general respect you. Things get murkier when the accomplishments needed for joining the elite are less visible, or involve matters of less interest to most of the population.

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Re: Labels, labels, labels . .

Those elites must be up to no good, why else would the police be shooting them? They must have done something wrong.

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Happy

Re: Labels, labels, labels . .

Well said Andrew.

And nice that you are still here :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Labels, labels, labels . .

By definition, elites ARE a minority.

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