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"The sky is falling..."

Discussion in 'Activism' started by badkarmamib, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    With the latest shootings in Dayton and El Paso, there has been a predictable rash of threads here of, "When they ban my guns, where can I hide them?", "Which infringement will you be okay with?", "Our political leader lied again!", and the like. How about, instead of complaining, cowing, and accepting fate, we realize that it is VERY unlikely that a stroke of a pen will cause a massive disruption (this time), and start writing our representatives, donate time and money as able, and try to reach out to those on the fence? Sitting on this forum, where most are of a similar mind, does nothing but stir a pot that is already thoroughly blended. We can't change anything when everyone we talk to is already in agreement. Our time will be better spent discussing with those who are not already vehemently against us, and with those who are elected to represent us.
     
  2. SilentStalker

    SilentStalker Member

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    Anyone got some sample letters?
     
  3. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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  4. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I do not have the resources but what we need is a series of postcards with scenes on them like a panoramic view of the Grand Canyon, Lincoln Memorial, Gettysburg, and the Alamo on the front. On the rear would be a pre written announcement that while l have supported and voted for you in the past if you vote to limit the second amendment in any way you will lose my support and vote. Room for a name and state/town as well as an area below to hand write additional comments. A. Place to sign and date it as well. Your representative will get these in a timly fashion and enough of them on their desk WlLL get their attention. Also could include other ammendments as well.

    ETA: I think if someone was able to print them and make them available to the public for cost a lot of us would buy a bunch to send out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
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  5. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    I like this idea. I'm going to go buy a few post cards with local scenes from my local tourist ship and do this. I've heard (no idea how true it is) that politicians actually read letters, whereas staffers read emails. (Or that 1 letter is worth 10 emails) or some such thing.
     
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  6. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    This is the only part of your post with which I disagree. (I think you and, or myself and someone else here, have had this discussion a few times before.) The battle lines are drawn on this issue. I haven't met anyone who doesn't already have a well fortified stance on this issue. Especially young people. Trying to influence others on this issue is not "time well spent."
     
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  7. Charlie Horse

    Charlie Horse Member

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    I've spend a lot, maybe too much, time dealing with politicians. When Jeff Sessions was still a Senator, I knew both of ours, and I've talked to him and Sen Shelby about the issue. (Since Sen Shelby is a distant cousin, and Sen Sessions is an old family friend, I had a chance from time to time to talk to each of them off the record.) In both of their offices, they weighted letters more than emails or phone calls. In both offices, staff read emails, letters, and of course answered the phones, and kept tally of opinion. In the Alabama legislature, its much the same way, but they put more credence to a phone call than an email usually because you actually had to take time while they were there to make the call. Letters of course meant more, but email they figured you could send at 3 in the AM in your BVDs.

    Then there is the story of the state senator, who is long dead, who I called to voice support for a bill. I got his aid who told me "He has told me to say that he will not consider constituent opinion on this matter." He sounded embarrassed to say it, and can't blame him. I will never forget it since it was SO arrogant. Came to find out the Blue Cross\ALFA lobby had opposed the bill, and they were escorting him to and from the men's room so that no one could talk to him about it. I mention that because sometimes the enemies arrayed can bring bizarre tactics to bear, and they are not above being more than a little silly to get their way, if they feel threatened enough. When this tactic came out, the reps on the defense back away from opposing it, and we won in a NARROW vote.
     
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  8. Jammersix

    Jammersix Member

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    One of the problems facing such campaigns is making the message too narrow-- the majority of voters in the United States are simply not single issue voters.

    Modern life is far too complex to tell my representative that my vote depends on his (or her) vote on most single issues. In my state, (Washington) our two senators are two of the most reliably liberal senators in the chamber. They are also two of the most reliable winners, they will probably both serve until they decide to retire. In my city, (Seattle) we have a Socialist serving on the city council, our police force is in and out of compliance with federal court ordered sanctions that deal with rather serious issues: excessive force and a culture of racism. Our new police chief is a Black woman, and the department is starting to come around, but it changes course like an aircraft carrier with an undersized rudder that runs off a rubber band. It can be painful to watch.

    So.

    If you happen to be something other than white, or, god help you, if you happen to be mixed race, modern life in the city of Seattle depends on many things interlocking successfully every time.

    Couple that with the fact that we fired (voted out) a (gay) mayor simply because three inches of snow fell, and the response by the city was, in the words of the Seattle Times, "pathetic". The city was paralyzed for three days. :scrutiny: The mayor that replaced him came into office facing that police department that uses too much force on too few people, facing major financial fires everywhere, and two floating bridges that were becoming dangerous, and he completely re-vamped our snow removal procedures. He was facing problems that were quite literally wrongful life and death, but the next time the snow falls, we'll be able to remove it in less than 48 hours. Brilliant, I tell you, brilliant. Our cops might kill you for being Black, but there won't be any snow on the road when we do.

    So my vote never has, does not now and never will depend on any single political litmus test.

    Nothing is as important as the sum of the whole.

    Lately, I've come around to voting based on straight up character-- integrity and honor.

    I will warn you that the deeper you look the more issues you will notice, and at the end of this particular road it isn't beyond the realm of possibility to vote for a Socialist if she's the only one in the race with any sense of a moral compass.

    Don't even get me started on Tim Eyman.
     
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  9. silvermane_1

    silvermane_1 Member

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    Not to "pee in your Cheerios" folks, but most Reps/Senators email is read by the "lackies/aids" and delete or responded with a form letter type email, and most if not all "snail mail" is fed to shredder(unless it's "important").
     
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  10. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

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    I do not remember getting a reply from any of my Senators and only a rare form letter from my House Rep. State assembly, county commissioners and city council never respond.
     
  11. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    All excellent points, but we have many who through blind hatred, hopelessness, or laziness that wouldn't lift a finger to save themselves if it saved anyone that didn't think only like them.

    I'll talk to anyone that is interested in discussing the current horror and self-serving "reactions" of Anti politicians and news media in hopes of using facts to counter the propaganda. One friend had his son murdered by a crazy exgirlfriend who used a borrowed .357 to do it. He's permanently traumatized by the loss of his child and has negative association with firearms. I dropped by his office to talk about a work issue Wed and he brought the mass shootings up, something I wouldn't have done knowing his grief, and we had a good conversation. Towards the end of it he expressed his frustration with the "ban them all" sorts who don't understand that the 2nd is there to oppose tyranny and not for rabbit or duck hunting. I was relieved and proud he and I could discuss these attacks, the nature of the young men that carry them out, the nature of firearms and the rights of he and I and those like us. Yesterday I had a conversation on the same general topic with a new manager. In and earlier conversation when I invited him to the gunshow this weekend he had said he didn't own a gun and while he didn't have any problem with reasonable people having them he wasn't interested in getign one. Our conversation yesterday ranged from the false narratives on how many "mass shootings" had taken place this year, the Uniform Crime Report, breakdown on firearms related homicide numbers, cities contributing to these numbers (take 7 cities out of the data and the US falls will within Canadian and European homicide rates), gross numbers and rates of rifle use vs. clubs or feet or knife homicide use (I'm sure we all know that rifles are used less than beating someone to death), frequency of mass shootings and reliable sources of information (he was surprised I praised Mother Earth News for being a good source). I admit to trying to steer these conversations into the futility of the Anti control arguments and focusing on the root causes for the behaviors that we are horrified by, but then I'm an advocate for finding real solutions and and not fake agenda driven ones. Those conversations help people who are bombarded with Anti propaganda to see the contradictions and outright lies being put out to manipulate the public.

    We NEED to reach out to people outside our community that we can reach. We don't have to get them to take up the shooting sports or become 2A activists, although that's always great, but we do have to help them become skeptical of the Anti propaganda and agenda and try to get them to NOT VOTE FOR that agenda.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  12. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    And be sure to vote for Trump in 2020 to ensure more conservative judicial appointments for federal district/circuit courts and SCOTUS, our last gun rights/2A hope possibly for decades to come.

    And keep voting pro-gun/2A law makers in future elections.
     
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  13. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    At the risk of turning political, I will say this: in 2020, one of two candidates WILL be elected to lead our country for 4 years. While you may not like one candidate, consider how much worse it will be if the other gets elected. Which one is elected will be seen as the popular choice, and legislators will craft laws based on that decision. Not voting because you hate them both is not an excuse, it is a waste. One or the other will be elected, with or without your vote, so, if nothing else, vote for the candidate that will hurt the least.
     
  14. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Yup, elections sure have consequences.

    At this point in my life having watched gun rights/2A erode away in the State of California for decades, my faith in Congress is very thin and I believe that having a majority of conservative pro-gun/2A judges in federal district/circuit courts and the SCOTUS is possibly our best/last hope.

    And as judges rule more cases with pro-gun/2A slant (They already have, THANK GOD), rulings and precedents must be followed which I hope will reverse public/law maker sentiment as preservation of rights not pushing of agenda by the antis.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  15. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    FWIW, I have worked in a Congress critter's DC office, albeit before 9/11. It was true that letters were more highly regarded than phone calls and emails and the pre printed stuff by various interest groups was kinda at the bottom of the heap.

    9/11 has changed the procedure due to the anthrax attacks via mail and thus all congressional mail by constituents goes to a facility to be bombarded with radiation and scanned to kill off any biologics. This slows the receipt of the mail quite a bit (at least it was a few years ago). So, this is simply my observations from working in politics and dealing with politicians off and on over the years.

    A) the folks that get the highest attention (aside from donors who have a different relationship with candidates) are those that do regular party work and not surprisingly these folks are more likely to actually get a word or two with candidates from time to time. Local political party organizations are remarkably open to someone that does hard grunt work and keeps their mouth shut especially if they are a volunteer. At party events, you often then get access to candidates and can give information to them in a less adversarial manner and they do not necessarily regard you as a gotcha type recording the whole thing for a sting.

    B) Personal contact options, if you are Average Joe or Josephine citizen who does not appear like a crank or act like one. Town halls, campaign rallies, etc. can often give someone a very short window to access the candidate directly via questions or information--do not necessarily expect them to give public commitments right then and now but your information does seep through. Another good approach is most congress critters have local offices that are less busy than the DC office, particularly during recess in Congress. Go there and bend a staffer's ear but do not come across as a crank or threatening. The local offices do funnel information back to the DC office.

    DC offices visits can also be helpful but remember that they are very busy, including staffers, during sessions and they can vary in helpfulness and have their own hierarchy. The Administrative Assistant is a chief of staff for the office, then you have legislative assistants that focus on the congress critter's legislative interests, depending on the position of the congress critter in seniority and committee assignments, there might also be another staffer or two from committee staff that are more or less assigned to do the member's work for that committee. Then there are secretaries and interns but you can still give information to them as well. Leadership offices in Congress have their own separate suites and are harder to access for Average Joe or Josephine because of restrictions in walking around Congress--but their regular office for their constituency is perfectly accessible in the congressional office buildings. Senators have bigger offices and greater staff so are generally harder to access--be content to deal with staffers. Be aware that there is a wide variance in how these offices treat visitors but be polite, be focused, and keep the message short. Occasionally, during travel, especially via DC and back, you might actually see your Congress critter and be nice, be polite, get your views across in a very short manner, and then leave them alone.

    Next, there is indirect communication. The various pre printed stuff and the goofy mailer petitions etc. are not that useful. Congress critters and staffers are well aware that interest groups raise money through these mailers either directly or indirectly. The key thing for mass mailers, whether for commercial or non-profits or political, is to get you to OPEN THE ENVELOPE. Then you are much likely to give money of which a fair amount goes to the mass mailing firm. Thus, this material is designed to go to your fears, your greed, etc. rather than appeal to your rational side. Think of most political mailers/postcards that either say the other person is a bum, and/ or I will cause you to get more money/employment/happiness, or identity politics where the person claims that I am one of you and will fight to get your view through to (fill in the blanks--county commission, state legislature, Congress, and so on). Interest groups will give you mailers or phone numbers to Congress, etc. for you to GIVE THEM A PIECE OF YOUR MIND etc. and by the way can you give for the fight brother since it is so critical at this time. If you think of the tactics of con-men, there is a close resemblance to these in the marketing operations of interest groups.

    So enough of what doesn't work well, then what does. A simple letter, do not worry so much about grammar, etc. as long as it is personal and does not parrot the talking points on TV vomited forth by "stategists" or your favorite pundit. If you come across as honest, concerned, and worried about the state of the country given a particular policy and you are well informed about that policy, then you might actually trigger a reaction. If time is of the essence, then fax the doggone thing--I have not dealt with the issue recently so it might also be possible to send it fedex or ups without going through quarantine but mebbe not. The shocking incident where a citizen actually spends their own money and time providing information on a subject might just cause some consideration of your points relayed to the Congress critter. You can also deliver such a letter in person to the local office for them to send and it is almost as good. One to two pages would be the max. If you can do a postcard, then do that but vague pronouncement like support the 2A ignores the reality that Congress votes on specific legislation and not principles. Congress is just capable of passing unanimously a resolution to support the 2A while also passing a bill that eviscerates it in actual effect. It is usually better to focus on whatever legislation is currently before Congress than vague new policy proposals.

    Now we get to emails. Since 9/11 and technology spread, emails are probably the most common form but staffers also recognize that a lot of folks will simply vent. They obviously if well written etc. can help but the problem is email overload which happens even in your own mailbox--stuff can get overlooked. On email, it is often difficult to determine for staffers whether or not the person is a robot, someone from outside of the district who obviously is less important than someone in the district, a crank, etc. The weird email monickers that people use can also be a problem if [email protected] is sending something, the staffer assigned to garbage duty might just not read it. The problem has only gotten worse as email is the new junk mail with spam, idiots, and people passing along chain emails, cluttering up inboxes.

    Instead, I would propose using technology in a different way via epetitions or social media groups, or whatever, to provide concrete evidence that these are real people and real voters in a district tha have an opinion. Then print out the epetition/social media likes/posts/ etc. comments (there are multiple sites that do this) and results and present that to the local district office in printed form (with links so the staffer can verify the material). You have a petition with 1000 voters or more from the district, you will get some attention to your cause because the rule of thumb is that each might actually affect the vote of 4-5 people so the interest might be 5000-10000 votes affected by the issue.

    Last, but not least, phone calls. In my opinion, at the federal level, these are less useful and often it is difficult to get through during peak votes. Some congress critters have apparently shut off calls even in high emotion events. If you must if time is of the essence such as unexpected amendment etc., you can try the national office but also try the local office as they will relay it. Better yet, most offices still have the fax machines to send a written message as an alternative because you might only get a moment to say "Yes I support HR 7328 or no, I do not support HR 7328--thank you", if the controversy on legislation provokes massive response. Remember you are also competing against interest groups that can afford phone banks and I suspect even paying shills to call in.

    Depending on the size of the state or local government, some of these tips are more or less applicable but the officeholders can be more accessible than federal officials and fewer staffers to shield them from the citizens. Direct contact is almost always best unless you present a poor image of what you are trying to do. People are judged on appearances and behavior--deal with it accordingly. Written, as mentioned above, is also useful depending on the format. Avoid stale talking points derived from the media or mass mailers of your organization--chances are that the officeholder has heard it all before. Instead, speak from your heart and mind and be informed on the issue that you are trying to address. Remember you are trying to persuade someone so hectoring them, boring them, threatening them is pointless whether it is a staffer or the candidate themself. And last but not least, there is strength in numbers so the social media/petition approach where you are the bearer of actual voters and their opinions will strengthen your approach.

    For better or worse, winning or losing, I have been involved in campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels and public policy issues at these levels on and off for nearly forty years. and these are my observances and one might say my professional opinion. As usual, YMMV and you might have a different take but remember, as much as it might seem that politicians are aliens from another planet at times, they are human too. They have feelings, likes and dislikes, and pride as well--so use the Dale Carnegie approach rather than treating them as an instant enemy, an excuse to vent over everything wrong with the country, or a dummy. The old saying if you want to friend a hog, then you gotta friend them back is true.
     
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  16. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I think answer to our concerns is simple.
    If we don't keep voting in pro-gun/2A law makers, we are digging our graves ourselves.

    As to being proactive and spreading the word to win/convert more voters to vote pro-gun/2A?

    I engage as many people as I can, even liberals and strangers I meet on craigslist and when I eavesdrop on any expressed sentiment of how bad things/crime is concerning, I direct the conversation to defensive shooting training and offer to teach/PIF defensive point shooting. Once they realize the value/virtue of defensive point shooting, next they are inviting their families and neighbors to our shooting sessions, where I reinforce the importance of gun ownership for self defense AND the significance of voting pro-gun/2A particular to appointing pro-gun/2A judges.

    During my lifetime, I have converted countless people, even liberals, LGBTQ and feminists to pro-gun/2A as rights issue and they have voted for Trump in 2016.

    To many of them, pushing their "save the planet" agenda won't do them any good if they are dead.
     
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  17. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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    A good old fashioned hand written letter and a simple phone call carry weight. If you do nothing reap what you sow......I did the above linked GOA email, every little bit helps. I find it hard to believe sometimes that people will not sign these or take simple action. There was a WH petition on suppressors (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/president-trump-do-not-ban-suppressors) and only 15,359 citizens signed it, we have like what 6 million NRA members????? Unreal.
     
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  18. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Actions speak louder than words.

    Venting and fuming on gun forums won't do anything.

    If you are not happy with the erosion of gun rights/2A, DO SOMETHING.

    And doing something can be simple as making a phone call (Won't cost you anything but time) and sending an email/online petition/form letter.

    As rodinal220 posted, a handwritten letter and a phone call will carry more weight but how much action you want to take depends on your level of frustration.

    Heck, if you don't want to write the letter, have your wife or kids do it (Children probably need the handwriting practice, you know). I usually have different letters done on word doc and just change the name and date for me to sign.

    Just do it and Get Er Done.
     
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  19. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

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    In the thirty years I have written to my Florida Senators and district House Rep none of the Senators ever replied. CW'Bill'Young sent form replies, sometimes.
    On the state, county and municipal level not one has replied.
    The Lords & Ladies of government haven't the time to deal with the concerns of the peasantry
     
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  20. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    It's easy to jump on message boards and complain, it's also a large waste of time. What is wrong with writing a polite and concise letter to members of the US congress?

    i've written my Oklahoma representatives scores of times on various subjects in the past 34 years. Every letter i've written has brought a written response.
     
  21. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    I've been getting innumerable appeals for contributions from my local Democratic politicians, most of which stress their support for stringent gun control. I've been writing them back, saying that I won't send them money as long as they back antigun measures. I haven't received a single reply, although I continue to get the fundraising spam.
     
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  22. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    Good. It is helpful for you to take the time to try to show them that not everyone in their district feels exactly the same way. Their opponent got some of the votes, too.
     
  23. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    It might help y'all to know that I had to do the grunt work in the day as an intern in a congressional office of going through petitions, mail, etc. to tabulate responses. They also kept track of phone calls from the district's area code on issues. Just because you do not get a direct response does not mean that they do not keep track of issues. Now, whether you get a responses will vary by office to office--you are not really going to sway someone like an ideologue but you might get them to understand that the event will cost them some votes/money/clout with other members, etc. The smart ones in competitive districts do often trim their sails and they inform the party leadership if their district is showing signs of resistance. These are also the offices that are more likely to respond to written or faxed responses. The prepackaged interest group postcards and emails now are so plentiful that at the national level, I suspect that they do not even try to keep up with responses. Personal visits can often trigger a letter or a phone call as well to the office albeit often from a staffer or a form letter. Party regulars generally get more attention.
     
  24. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    One thing they do not like is to send this reply back to them in their prepaid envelope. It then costs them for your sending them a message and totally legal.
     
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  25. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Lawmakers usually under the threat of being voted out will typically lean towards and act accordingly to voter sentiments. :D

    They know they are in office because people vote them in.
     
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