MISSISSIPPI'S KIDS: Kristof cites three points of concern!


Skips past what's blindingly obvious: What the heck has been going on with Mississippi's public school kids?

Has a "Mississippi miracle"occurred in that state's public schools? Carelessly, the Associated Press was willing to float that pleasing idea in the headline to this pleasing report back on May 17:

‘Mississippi miracle’: Kids’ reading scores have soared in Deep South states

That's the headline which appeared above Sharon Lurye's lengthy AP report. According to the careless report, reading scores have "soared" to the point where some people are tossing the M-word around!

On June 1, Nicholas Kristof followed with a lengthy essay on this topic in the New York Times. To his credit, Kristof never let the silly term "miracle" intrude on his lengthy report.

That said, the true-believing non-expert did throw the R-word in. A "revolution" is underway in Mississippi's schools, the non-expert New York Times columnist quickly suggested or said:

KRISTOF (6/1/23): In the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a series of nationwide tests better known as NAEP, Mississippi has moved from near the bottom to the middle for most of the exams—and near the top when adjusted for demographics. Among just children in poverty, Mississippi fourth graders now are tied for best performers in the nation in NAEP reading tests and rank second in math.


“Mississippi is a huge success story and very exciting,” David Deming, a Harvard economist and education expert, told me. What’s so significant, he said, is that while Mississippi hasn’t overcome poverty or racism, it still manages to get kids to read and excel.

“You cannot use poverty as an excuse. That’s the most important lesson,” Deming added. “It’s so important, I want to shout it from the mountaintop.” What Mississippi teaches, he said, is that “we shouldn’t be giving up on children.”

The revolution here in Mississippi is incomplete, and race gaps persist, but it’s thrilling to see the excitement and pride bubbling in the halls of de facto segregated Black schools in some of the nation’s poorest communities.

In Kristof's non-expert assessment, the revolution is incomplete. But a "revolution" in Mississippi's public schools is already underway!

According to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom and Daisy Buchanan were "careless people," possessed of "vast carelessness." In our view, Lurye and Kristof are also behaving carelessly when they apply terms like miracle and revolution to the changes currently underway in Mississippi's public schools.

We think they're repeating a familiar process of the past (at least) fifty years. In this very familiar process, journalists drop in on a set of high-scoring public schools, then quickly fly away, leaving pleasing but unfounded claims in their immediate wake.

Having said that, let's be fair:

In the passage we've posted above, Kristof refers to Mississippi's improved test scores on the Naep Grade 4 reading and math tests. In the main, it's those improved Grade 4 Naep scores which have led Kristof to declare that a revolution is underway. 

Those Naep scores signal a revolution, Kristof seems to say. But to his credit, he also cites three points of concern which darken the picture somewhat.

In doing so, he skips right past the obvious statistical problem with the revolution he announces. In fairness, though, he does cite these three points of potential concern;

KRISTOF: The revolution here in Mississippi is incomplete, and race gaps persist, but it’s thrilling to see the excitement and pride bubbling in the halls of de facto segregated Black schools in some of the nation’s poorest communities.


With such a focus on learning to read, one of the surprises has been that Mississippi fourth graders have also improved significantly in math. One possible explanation is that some math problems require reading; another is that children try harder in all subjects when they enjoy school.


One challenge is that while Mississippi has made enormous gains in early grades, the improvement has been more modest in eighth-grade NAEP scores. Still, the state has made progress in several areas that help upper grades: getting parents more involved and promoting vocational education, in addition to raising high school graduation rates.

Race gaps persist, Kristof correctly says. He fails to note how large those race gaps seem to be, even on the Grade 4 level. 

To see how large those (very large) race gaps are, click here for Thursday's report. Presumably, a revolution with gaps like that is no revolution at all.

Kristof notes a second disquieting fact:

The alleged revolution has been underway for almost a decade now. That said, the apparent improvement in Grade 4 performance hasn't been matched on Mississippi's Grade 8 Naep tests—and a revolution which dies before the end of middle school is no revolution at all.

Kristof notes a third somewhat peculiar point. The miracle people are talking about has allegedly been created by the way Mississippi now teaches reading in the early grades—by the way the state now employs phonics instruction and the so-called "science of reading."

That said, why would an improvement in the teaching of reading also lead to impressive score gains on the Grade 4 test in math? Kristof offers a pair of sensible speculations, but a more experienced education journalist wouldn't cast these points of concern aside with such careless abandon. 

Of course, Kristof isn't an education journalist at all. In the aftermath of the AP report, he dropped in on some low-income schools in Mississippi. A day or two later, he flew away, failing to show much skepticism about what he thought he had seen or about the things he'd been told.

This makes us think of Tom and Daisy. Fitzgerald portrayed them as shown:

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

In fairness, Kristof hasn't smashed anything up with this latest example of New York Times "education tourism." But he left his readers with a vastly inflated sense of assurance that a public school revolution is now underway in that low-income state, one which other states could easily copy.

Such writing performs the function it has performed for the past fifty years. It permits Times readers to breathe a sigh of relief about the good and decent kids within our low-income schools. 

It permits Times readers to feel good about low-income schoolingto feel that they no longer have to worry about Mississippi's kids. Our liberal world has been behaving in this careless way for at least the past fifty years.

Alas! In an extremely careless way, Kristof blew right past one seemingly obvious reason for Mississippi's higher Grade 4 Naep scores:

We refer to the obvious statistical advantage gained by a state which adopts Mississippi's third grade retention policy, in which third graders who can't pass a reading test are held back for a second year in third grade.

As we noted before our recent surgery, this retention policy conveys an obvious statistical advantage on Mississippi at the Grade 4 level. In our next report on this topic, we'll run through that blindingly obvious point againand we'll start to show you the data which lie behind Kristof's fleeting sense of concern about those Grade 4 math tests, and about Mississippi's relative failure to thrive on the Grade 8 level.

We applaud the state of Mississippi for the efforts it is making in its public schools. That said, this latest example of New York Times education journalism is a careless non-competent mess.

As for this nation's education experts, they've been AWOL at times like this for many decades now. They've slept through one such situation after another. They've been silent, incompetent and vastly careless on their Ivy campuses.

Mississippi's kids are decent and good. Our high-end elites, somewhat less.

Coming Monday: Those high Grade 4 math scores


  1. "In the main, it's those improved Grade 4 Naep scores which have led Kristof to declare that a revolution is underway. "

    This is not true. First, Somerby cannot know what Kristof was thinking when he wrote that sentence, obviously. Second, the AP article did not only describe the improved NAEP scores but also described the legislation in MS allocating increased funding to low income schools and mandating teacher training. That legislation also required that every school have a reading specialist. It described how, over several years, EVERY elementary school teacher received specific training in reading instruction. Such instruction was also greatly increased in MS college programs training new teachers. And finally, the instructional program mandated for the schools was changed to include one that included phonics instruction. That is a lot of hard work by a lot of people, aimed at improving reading instruction, because the MS state legislature was determined that MS no longer rank next to last in the nation in reading.

    Somerby mentions none of this effort. In fact, he doesn't talk about what was behind the substantial improvement noted in MS schools. It is still questionable whether all this constitutes a "revolution" but it is not nothing either, even though Somerby never mentions it. Somerby failure to talk about this leaves his readers with the impression that Kristof was all hyped up over nothing but some score increases. That is grossly unfair, manipulative, deceptive on Somerby's part. But this is how Somerby stacks the deck in his favor these days. Somerby used to call this putting one's thumb on the scales.

    Somerby calls Kristof careless without showing how Kristof deserves that label. Even if it were true, I think being careless is better than being dishonest, as Somerby has been throughout this discussion of progress in MS.

  2. There is a simple explanation if similar gains were not found on the Grade 8 test. It takes time for the changes described in training teachers and implementing new programs to be accomplished. It may be that progress was uneven. If the reading improvement measures lagged in some districts, that would impede improvement. The kids who were tested in grade 8 may not have had the benefit of the same early reading interventions as the kids in grade 4.

    1. A few weeks ago, I posted an excerpt from a newsletter in MS that described the way the new reading program was implemented. The legislation came first, then they discovered that teachers were largely untrained in reading instruction (only a few weeks in their college programs) and using haphazard methods, and that many schools had no reading specialists to support their teachers. That was when they went back to square one, wrote legislation to mandate much more training in teacher colleges and reading specialists in EVERY school. Then they systematically trained their existing teachers, located a new program and implemented in in all of their schools. Then they started identifying the kids who weren't learning and referred them to the reading specialists, using the third grade test and retention program. This didn't happen all at one, but in a series of stages as each need and obstacle was identified. Anyone who has worked in education knows that it times a great deal of time to accomplish all of this. In MS, this was the word of a decade before the results showed up in the test scores.

      No doubt, Somerby would call the gradual improvement a sign that the mandated programs were not working, just as he suggests today that the changes, if they occurred, do not last. He needs to wait for the next NAEP tests to suggust that, since the changes were not all in place in time for these current 8th-graders to show the same progress, much less backsliding.

      Somerby could see these obvious facts for himself, if he had bothered to read the article I posted in comments. His own careless and lazy attitude toward his blog and the topics HE raises, prevented him from gaining the info needed to avoid making a series of incredibly stupid remarks on this subject.

      It is Somerby's responsibility to get facts straight. He doesn't do that. People who work in education have frequently corrected him, but many have gotten frustrated and abandoned this blog. Who can blame them? Who knows what Somerby's grudge is against schools that succeed by moving from second to last in their NAEP scores, to 21st in the nation. Reasonable people would applaud with sincerity. Somerby pretends their progress is a statistical artefact. I say that he pretends because he has had every opportunity to correct his mistakes here but has chosen instead of make ignorant criticisms that reveal him to be a dilettante with a superficial grasp of stats and no ability to think about what numbers reveal, on any topic.

    2. Correction: "Anyone who has worked in education knows that it takes (not times) a great deal of time to accomplish all of this. In MS, this was the work (not word) of a decade before the results showed up in the test scores."

    3. Anyone with a brain abandoned this blog long ago. Only we trolls stay here.

  3. mh has twice posted an analysis showing that the retention of the third graders could not explain the improvements in this latest NAEP test. It was not mh's analysis but someone else's academic study.

    Somerby obviously didn't read what mh wrote. But he also didn't bother to search for info, the way mh did. If mh could find such an analysis, so could Somerby -- but someone is hardly ever motivated to look for evidence that might contradict his own thesis -- in this case, a nasty complaint against not only Kristof but the state of MS and all of the teachers and children who accomplished this measureable improvement in reading performance.

    Somerby is WRONG when he attributes the MS improvement to their retention policy. Hopefully, mh will post that info again. If not, anyone can find it by searching back through the comments to previous Somerby essays about the MS NAEP results. I am not going to do that myself because I read what mh wrote the first time, and the second time too. We should not have to go to that extra trouble simply because Somerby is too careless himself, too lazy, to check the feedback on his essays. Scientists are required to consider peer review of their work. Philosophers don't appear to care -- and politically motivated propagandists definitely don't care about reactions to their work. Even Kristof got letters, which he most likely read, being a conscientious journalist and a person interested in truth. Somerby? He doesn't read what people often taken considerable time to tell him. That's because, of all the people who write here, Somerby is the least interested in the progress of black children in MS. Even David in Cal and Cecelia read the comments of other people at Somerby's blog.

    1. You can't have a discussion without both talking and listening.

      Trump doesn't listen to anyone who isn't saying what he wants to hear. Somerby, another narcissist, may have the same problem.

    2. I used to think David and Cecelia were chimpanzees. I’m now sure they’re both human. She’s likely female, and he’s almost certainly male.

    3. Who is mh and where do I find the study he refers to?

    4. “Student retention and third-grade reading: It’s about the adults”


      The second piece of information comes from the naep itself. You can add student age in as a factor. Here’s what happens when you do that:

      Grade 4 reading, 2022:
      National public, below modal age, 232
      National public, at modal age, 216
      National public above modal age, 216
      Mississippi, below modal age, XXX (no data: Reporting standards not met.)
      Mississippi, at modal age, 223
      Mississippi, above modal age, 212

      The older students, presumably the ones held back, (above modal age), performed less well than those at the modal age."

    5. This article, in which the score gains were attributed to the third grade retention policy, was published in 2019:

      “Mississippi rising? A partial explanation for its NAEP improvement is that it holds students back”


      However, the author updated his article almost 2 years later.

      ‘Author’s Update, August 5, 2022: Analysis of NAEP demographic data shows that retaining students was in fact not a major contributor to Mississippi’s improved fourth grade NAEP results in the last few years—at least not the way this article suggested. The average age of Mississippi’s fourth grade test-takers was almost identical in 2002 and 2017; increased retention should have raised the age. That suggests that Mississippi has long had a higher retention rate than most states, perhaps making its reading retention policy less controversial than in other places. For further thoughts on how the retention policy has impacted Mississippi’s NAEP results, see my related Fordham Institute post from January 2022: “Student retention and third-grade reading: It’s about the adults.”’

      The author asks you to review his newer article

    6. Somerby -- stop taking down the references to the info that rebuts your statements. It is dishonest.

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. All of the above is directly quoted from mh. mh is a computer scientist who frequently comments here.

  4. "We applaud the state of Mississippi for the efforts it is making in its public schools."

    Would anyone characterize Somerby's month-long tantrum here as applause? This is the most outrageous remark in an essay full of ridiculous statements.

  5. Trending on Twitter: WWIII

    The Ukraine war is the start of World War III where the powers below the United States -China Russia Brazil India etc form an alliance together to fight against the economic and military domination of the United States over the last 30 years.

    1. Troll noise again. Notice how he doesn't mention Putin's civil war at all, in which the Russian military is fighting the Wagner Group within Russia.

    2. Modi enjoyed a state dinner at the White House yesterday.

    3. Diplomacy is better than war.

    4. Recently, China and India and Brazil, along with the US, voted for a UN resolution condemning Russian aggression (which has been a relentless ongoing concern for about 1500 years); now the Wagner group has taken control of a vital Russian military center, explaining that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is going poorly and causing a much higher death rate on the Russian side than is reported, and so better leadership is needed.

      It is true that under Trump, Putin flourished, but under Biden, Putin/Russia is getting their ass handed to them.

      Imperialism, colonialism, settler-colonialism, fascism, etc. are bad whether it’s the US engaging in and/or supporting it, or when it’s Russia.

      At least the US ostensibly, nominally, is a democracy, regardless of the ongoing right wing attempts to bring down this foundational principle; Russia has pretty much always leaned fascist.

    5. Prigozhin has gone to Belarus.

    6. My personal theory is that Putin didn’t pay him for Wagner Group services (following The Donald’s example) so Prigozhin applied pressure. Putin has coughed up the fee so the Wagner Group is returning to its training camp. There are some people you don’t stiff.

    7. Russia has been isolated, and its meager alliances have been crumbling, the recent UN resolution condemning Russian aggression, for example, was approved by China, India, and Brazil.

      This leaves Putin/Russia looking vulnerable, leaving a power vacuum.

    8. Moa as peacenik here, never very convincing, but anything in service to the Orange God.

    9. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/apr/18/india-russia-talks-free-trade-agreement-deal-ukraine

    10. Modi is far right, in the vein of fascist Putin, and India gets super cheap oil from Russia now, as well as most of its military equipment, so it walks a fine line between its relations with Russia and the US.

      Having said that, India has joined the US in its Quad alliance, and is starting to now regularly condemn Russia for its aggression with Ukraine.

      Putin cut a deal with Wagner.


      A mediocre at best force of barely armed 25k mercenaries scared Putin enough to force him to cut a deal.

      Putin is weak and vulnerable.

  6. "Still, the state has made progress in several areas that help upper grades: getting parents more involved and promoting vocational education, in addition to raising high school graduation rates."

    This is not nothing!

  7. "That said, why would an improvement in the teaching of reading also lead to impressive score gains on the Grade 4 test in math? Kristof offers a pair of sensible speculations, but a more experienced education journalist wouldn't cast these points of concern aside with such careless abandon."

    Kristof and Morning Joe and Somerby are all responding to an AP article that described the improvements in reading. That was the focus of the original article, not math. Making major changes to improve scores in reading does not preclude making similar changes in math or in teaching in general. Better training of teachers will lead to better teaching and elementary grades do not generally have separate teachers for math and reading, but a single teacher.

    Further, there is a connection between reading and math. There are studies showing that better reading skills lead to better math skills because a child must be able to read in order to benefit from math textbooks. The problem with poor reading skills is that it disadvantages a child in all other subject areas in school. While the child is struggling to read what is said in a problem in a textbook or on a worksheet, he or she cannot pay attention to the math aspects being taught. Kids with poor reading skills fall behind in all subjects. It makes sense that improving those reading skills would prevent that.

    Somerby taught elementary school. He should know that from his own experience. But he is too intent with calling Kristof names, proving his carelessness, to think about math and reading himself.

    Again, Somerby criticizes a journalist for limiting his subject to what can be meaningfully discussed in the length of an article. Somerby does this a lot -- complaining that someone didn't talk about something else, something he thought was important. That is unfair to Kristof.

    1. "Also, well developed phonological processing and fluency skills are a prerequisite for math. In line with this, Grimm (2008) found early reading skills to be a good predictor for success in mathematics and Jordan et al. (2002) reported that reading abilities influence children's growth in mathematics."


      Somerby can google the connection between reading and math, as easily as any of the rest of us can. Why doesn't he? It would prevent him from saying ignorant things.

    2. Buck Kristof.

  8. Somerby can be criticized for dismissing the MS score improvements; however, his criticism of Kristof is warranted.

    Kristof quotes neoliberal economist David Deming “You cannot use poverty as an excuse”, one may as well say “You cannot use cancer as an excuse”.

    Poverty is not used as an “excuse”, it’s descriptive of a condition; poverty is an inhumane circumstance emerging from a society overly emphasized on dominance and hierarchy.

    Interestingly, child poverty was recently reduced in a single year by nearly half, just through an expansion of the child tax credit. The expansion has since been undone, but it’s clear child poverty is unnecessary and easily solved, and would likely have a larger impact on raising low test scores than ordering from the reform-of-the-month club.

    Furthermore, an obsession with average test score growth is likely not beneficial to society; indeed the intent and result of such a stance largely seems to be to provide a more compliant labor force for those that hold all the power and wealth. Average scores were lower in the past, but so was inequality, and meaningful innovation was higher.

  9. Beat the drum.


    1. Drum is not a teacher and not an education expert. He too failed to google the connection between math and reading. These guys are both great examples of what happens when you speculate without information. Their confidence in their own ungrounded speculation shows what hubris looks like. They are being fools.

    2. Drum has now announced that, unlike Somerby, he thinks there has been progress in MS:

      "It looks to me like Mississippi's reading reforms are not a panacea but have worked pretty well."

      He says this is not a change from his opinion yesterday, but yesterday he was agreeing with Somerby, who has hinted there was cheating on the NAEP and invented bogus statistical problems with the data, anything to avoid acknowledging progress in MS (for over a month now).

  10. Kristof, Kristof, Kristof, Kristof, Test scores!!

  11. The Mississippi Miracle: improve math scores by teaching phonics.

  12. Harry Litman invented phonics.

  13. Eddie Van Halen didn’t invent guitar tapping, but did popularize it. Too bad his songs were so cheesy, bit of a waste of talent in absolute terms, but of course enough Americans are ok with short lived cheap thrills for him to get filthy rich.

    1. What did Eddie say about phonics?

    2. He said he “developed” his technique listening to Tommy Bolin, Steve Hackett, Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, John Goodsall, and Jimmy Page.

      It would appear Eddie is pro phonics.

  14. I have tried to repost mh's comment from June 5, three times this morning. It keeps disappearing.

    The gist of his comment is that retention cannot account for the improvement in MS scores.

    I also reposted the info at Kevin Drum's blog, where it appears to be uncensored:


    See the comments.

  15. Vietnamese immigrants are poorer than blacks. A couple of generations ago, Asians were poorer than blacks. A hundred years ago, Jews were as poor as blacks. These groups now out-perform gentile whites in school. Poverty is a problem, it's not insuperable.

    As a lower middle class Jew, I succeeded by taking education more seriously than my classmates and working harder. Parental encouragement and help was key. This same thing worked for Ben Carson. We need to somehow expand on this idea.

    1. There was never a law forbidding immigrants from learning to read (with a death penalty). Families of immigrants were never broken up, there was no rape of women and no forbidding of marriage. Immigrants were not beaten or lashed for minor infractions. Immigrants were not murdered for perceived insolance to white people. Immigrants were not required to work in low paid jobs or else put in jail for being vagrant. Immigrants were not forbidden from entering towns all over the USA. These things happend under slavery and Jim Crow, which did not end until the mid-20th century. Until the 1960s, there were not even segregated schools for blacks in certain areas of the South. Immigrants have not typically experienced centuries of oppression. They grew up under more favorable circumstances and were dislocated, often with family systems and community help intact. Their culture and traditions are different than for people who spent centuries under slavery.

      As a middle class Jew, you never had an adult follow you around a store to make sure you didn't shoplift anyone. You never had the teacher ignore your raised hand because she was sure you didn't know the answer to her question in class. You were not beaten up on the playground, called names by the white boys. Your parents weren't the last hired and first fired at a menial job. People didn't make fun of your hair and you weren't accused if someone misplaced a possession. You weren't accused of being lazy when you missed questions on an exam, you were perhaps encouraged or even helped. Your parents likely checked your homework and expected you to go to college. You weren't shushed by your mother for making noise, in case it attracted negative white person (Karen) attention in public.

      Until you have that heritage, you cannot make these facile simplistic comparisons between black people and other minorities. All you needed to pass for middle class was to keep your mouth shut. Can a black person do that? Not even today.

      I don't know why you have never watched any of the many films about the black experience OR the immigrant experience, and noticed the many differences. There are excellent novels too that would fill in the details for you. For some reason, you missed that part of your education, so you believe some ridiculously inaccurate things and now post stupid comments like this one.

      When I taught at UCI, it was not unusual for a Vietnamese immigrant student (18-21 yo) to be accompanied to class by a parent. In contrast, I rarely saw a black student in class during the 1990s. They went to Cal State Dominguez Hills instead. Why do you think that was?

    2. In 6th grade, I went to my daughter's school to ask why she had not been selected for a special program despite having standardized test scores above the 95% percentile and being good at math. The math teacher was included in the meeting with the school vice principal. The math teacher said that she didn't understand the material and was always staring out the window. The VP asked him to check his gradebook and he did. He was surprised to find that all of her test grades were A's.

      Why was he so mistaken about her grasp of the subject, her ability? One reason may have been that she was Hispanic. Another may be that she was female and social (pretty and popular). The school apologized and offered her a spot in the special program (accelerated math).

      When a child is a member of a minority group, such "mistakes" happen frequently. My grandson was recently referred to special ed by his Asian elementary school teacher. She took him to a school psychologist and he tested as gifted. Why the mistake? He is biracial, half black. Parents of minority kids must be vigilante for stereotype-based misjudgments. A parent who is not middle class but assumes that the schools know what they are doing may permit a child to be misclassified, overlooked, even abused in school without knowing that they can and should monitor what is happening, every year. I'll bet this never happened once to David in Cal when he was a middle class Jewish boy. The stereotypes would work in his favor, just as Asians tend to be assumed to be smart and hard-working unless proven otherwise.

      This is why racial topics need to be discussed not just in elementary school and the other K-12 grades, but why white kids should take ethnic studies courses in college, and why everyone should have access to books about kids whose experiences are different from the mainstream. We are a diverse society. No child should be judged based on anything less than his or her own efforts.

    3. The secret of David’s success: phonics in English, Yiddish, and Hebrew.

    4. @6:04 and @6:21 make some excellent points. Blacks suffered unique problems, which account for their lag in education.

      However, I'm talking about solutions. Ben Carson's mother overcame all these problems. With her encouragement and support, Ben became a top student, a top neurosurgeon, and an academic, author, and politician . IMO the solution will somehow include encouraging millions of other mothers to do as Ben Carson's mother did.

    5. David is unwittingly making a decent leftist point.

      A significant factor in how humans achieved an egalitarian society for most of its existence, until about 10k years ago, was how much time and effort was focused on raising children.

      Our modern society’s knife’s edge existence is failing our children. With the right wing’s undying obsession with hierarchy and dominance, our policies, systems, and institutions are draining the life force from parents.

  16. Increasing numbers of average Americans can no longer stomach voting for parties that only pretend to represent their interests.

    1. To be fair, it looks like voter turnout is on a relatively long term upswing trend.

      Evidence strongly suggests that voter turnout is in large part a function of reducing logistical impediments to voting as well as reducing voter suppression.


  17. We should note that Bob is now completely lost, at least for now, as far as rationizing/ defending Trump. We will see if it lasts.