LOSING: IT’S THE FLIP SIDE OF WINNING

It’s not just that Trump won. It’s that we lost.

Despite what I’m reading on social media, we didn’t lose only because of faux news, the FBI, unfair press, or badly handled emails, though all of that contributed. We also lost because of what we did, and should have done — but didn’t. This election was ours to lose and we lost it, good and proper.

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The bitter battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton planted seeds of deep suspicion that she was corrupt. It went on a long time and left a bad taste in a lot of mouths, many of those mouths belonging to people who normally would have voted blue. Even worse, after finally bandaging that wound, Hillary Clinton didn’t listen to the people. Up in the usually Democratic rust belt, people wanted to talk about the economy and jobs. She wanted to discredit Trump.

If you want to win, you need to listen. To address the concerns of the voters — or they won’t vote for you. She knew that and so did her people. So she won the popular vote, but lost the majority of states. In each of those lost states, she lost the popular vote in too — unless the recount in Wisconsin shows something else. Regardless, I doubt even a recount will change the result. I would be astounded if it did.

You may not like or fully understand the system, but it is our system. It has always been our system and the candidates fully understand how it works. Hillary Clinton has been in the political arena her entire adult life. She has no excuse.

And. Bernie Sanders needs to ask himself: Was it worth it? He blew up his own party. Is he going to stick around and help put it back together? Or was destruction his goal from the beginning? As liberals, Democrats, and voters, we need to think about where we go from here.

There’s more than enough blame to go around. If we are going to indulge in finger-pointing, we may need extra fingers. Presumably we learned (relearned) at least one lesson: corrosive in-fighting is not a winning strategy.

It’s time to start walking a more productive path. To make positive changes. Put together a winning strategy for 2020. Unless, of course, we want Trump for eight years rather than four.


 THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS HERE TO STAY


The electoral college was created by the founders of this country as part of the constitution. It’s not a recent law we can change or rescind. To remove it would require an amendment to the Constitution. Which is not happening. The assigned electors per state can be (and are) adjusted to make the college more representative and reflective of the U.S. population. But eliminated? I doubt it.

The electoral college was created to balance the power and interests of populous, industrial states and make sure agricultural, rural states with lower populations don’t get trampled in national elections. 

That is exactly what it did. Although Hillary Clinton (my preferred candidate) won more popular votes, she won all her votes in the big, urban, industrial states. Trump got fewer votes, but won far more states. You and I may not like it, but the electoral college was designed to make sure that popularity and population are not the only things that factor into electing a president.

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Is it fair? I think it’s rather like the referee’s call in a football game. It depends on whether the call favors you or the other team.


THE U.S. IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. 


The United States is a constitutional republic and popularity is not the only factor that counts in a presidential election.

The electoral college is an integral part of the structure of our government and its presence is exactly what makes us a republic rather than a democracy. Before you start howling about abolishing it, recognize that it was put in place for a reason, even if you don’t like the reason. If you lived in Wyoming, you would feel it was protecting your interests … and you’d be right.

If you live in a big, blue state, do you really believe you are entitled to enforce your will on the entire country? Does it mean you always get to pick the winner?  I don’t like Trump, but our system works the way it is supposed to. It isn’t a cheat or a scam or something that’s been overlooked and needs fixing. It was designed and included intentionally so you don’t get disenfranchised because you live in the country or on a farm.

I’m surprised how many people apparently don’t understand how the Constitution or our government works. Didn’t we all learn this in school?


If you are interested in learning more, you can start here at History.com ELECTORAL COLLEGE. Or, just Google “electoral college” and poke around. There’s plenty of information easily available.

37 thoughts on “LOSING: IT’S THE FLIP SIDE OF WINNING

  1. In response to your question, I have to state that in my experience I’ve found that most Americans do not have a firm grasp on how the Constitution and/or our Government works. Instead, anything that is disagreed with is instantly referred to as “Unconstitutional” or “Socialist” despite a general lack of knowledge concerning the specifics of Constitutionality and/or Representative Democracy, or recognizing that defense, infrastructure, public schools, and other things that benefit the public are actually Socialist aspects of our nation. As for our Government, many Americans believe that the president–especially President Obama–is required to go through Congress for each and every stage of any action they wish to perform, and that’s despite the clear elaboration of presidential authority and its scope as laid out in the Constitution.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have to wonder what, if anything, they are learning in school. We had to learn this stuff from elementary school on up through high school. Civics. What the different branches of the government did. We had to actually READ the constitution and got tested on it, too. We knew the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — and the Articles of Confederation. It wasn’t “special” to know this stuff. It was considered basic knowledge for citizens of the U.S. If nothing else proves how dismally our schools are failing, this has got to be it. Sad. It’s all about passing standardized tests these day. There no time for learning anything — or learning to love learning.

      Well, the next four years should be really interesting. Really really interesting.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Governments almost never listen to the people, but candidates either listen, or they lose. The time to get a candidate on board with issues that matter do you is before they are elected. And that’s why Hillary Clinton lost. In a nutshell, she wasn’t listening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s like the news media in a way. The suits don’t listen to their employees or their audience. And, they wonder why everyone is so cynical. On second thought, they don’t care. I know from many years of first hand experience. It’s just — “show me the money”.

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  2. While the “Electoral College” was created to balance the power of the states in a national election.., the work around is the questionable practice of “districting” which is a factor in how the college weighs how votes are given. This was taken full advantage of as the last “re-districting” shows. All in all, the fact that Hillary won a good majority of the popular vote, but it seemingly was ignored by the “E. College”.., says to the less informed citizenry, “My vote means nothing!”

    So enough defending our system when it’s obvious that something is wrong with it in these modern times. I for one fail to believe we need to give up by giving in just because the “founding fathers” wrote the rules that way. The founding fathers also allowed “slavery” to prevail, and with all due respect these were clever, intelligent men, but human beings at best, and given to faults like the rest of us. So now we swim in the soup of their antiquated mistakes, or less harshly put, lack of long range forethought.

    We are very fortunate to live in a society, in America, where fairness is so important but has yet to be fully achieved as a practice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not arguing the fairness of the system, only that it exists, has always existed and that HILLARY KNEW HOW IT WORKS. And didn’t use that knowledge. She ran a crappy campaign and had she run a better one, redistricting or not, she’d have won. That’s the thing. If we keep arguing about “the system” and how unfair it is, we lose. Obama won. Bill Clinton won. With redistricting AND the electoral college. The Dems that lost — Dukakis, Kerry, Gore — all ran awful campaigns. Didn’t do what they needed to do to get the votes. Fair or not, that IS the system and bitching about it won’t fix anything. Complaining and finger pointing isn’t a road to victory in 2020.

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      • And I’m saying it needs reviewing instead of hiding our heads in the sand. In spite of what we know, It shouldn’t be a thing we just accept and let steam roll over us. It shouldn’t be so hard to run a straight forward election giving no advantage save the numbers of votes to one side or the other. A national election should be just that.., universal rules devoid of state control and local politics. Forget that it is, and has always been.., it’s obviously not perfect and full of loop holes to be taken advantage of by the unscrupulous. So if it’s unfair we need to change it, start employing fairness for a change. Ah!, there’s the change we really need.., why didn’t we think of that before?

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        • It’s the constitution. That’s exactly what we do because — it’s the constitution. It’s our basic form of government. Yes, we do accept it because that’s how the nation was designed. No one is going to change it. No one. The ONLY way it could be changed is through an amendment to the constitution — which isn’t going to happen. My belief is that it will NEVER happen. Pigs will fly before we see that amendment. This isn’t just a law: it’s THE LAW.

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          • Laws are changed all the, time and who’s to say it will never happen. Maybe not in our lifetime but I would never say NEVER. Even if it is “THE LAW”.., they are made by men, broken by men and can be changed by men. BTW I just heard of a new breed of pig.., and there’s some talk of them having the ability to.. uh.. glide, maybe even fly? 🙂

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            • It’s the constitution, not just A law. We have not successfully changed any fundamental part of the constitution since the end of the civil war. We’ve added stuff that wasn’t there, but other than slavery, we’ve never removed anything. So you are welcome to dream on, but I think a more practical approach would be to think about what we really can do that will happen in our lifetime or at least my granddaughter’s. Because the electoral college isn’t a law we can just alter. It’s part of the fundamental structure of our system of government. It is what makes us NOT a democracy, but a constitutional republic. No amount of arguing with me will change that. I don’t think anything is going to change it.

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              • This country was built on “dreams”.., and somehow dreams can become reality. We never dreamt we’d have a black president either.., or rather it was only a dream, and look what happened. I’m not arguing with you I just have different beliefs, among them is that NOTHING is absolute. If it could happen with slavery, it can happen with this issue too.

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                • I will toss this one bit of hope out there…
                  Even the Magna Carta–the European document that largely influenced the creation of the American Constitution–was fundamentally repealed. It took years, but it was done. With that said, I have to express my sincere doubt that our politicians will ever have the guts to rewrite or replace the Constitution either in whole or in part. Right now, and to an earlier point, there isn’t even the will for a new Amendment.

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                  • That’s because changing that piece of the constitution would structurally alter the nature of our style of government. Take away the whole electoral college and substitute direct democracy, and everything changes. The balance of power between the states changes. Maybe that’s what ought to happen, but I doubt very much it will.

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  3. It’s difficult to determine what Bernie Sanders’ motives were or what he expected when he entered the race. He is not a Democrat so he didn’t really blow up his own party; he’s been — and remains, I believe — an independent. I suspect that his goal was to shove HRC toward a more progressive agenda. I don’t know if he anticipated the level of support he was going to get. I think this election was jam-packed with fun surprises…

    There are some things in this election that were obvious to me from the beginning. One was that Obama was elected partly because he was NOT a mainstream candidate. The dude’s black, an outsider. That’s a signal the Democrats should have picked up on, but they didn’t.

    I believe there was a deal struck between HRC and the Dems “OK, Sweet Cheeks, your turn next. We get the black guy, then the woman. Are you good with that? We’ll make sure you win.” I think this is likely, especially the antics that went on in the DNC during the primaries. HRC might be a woman, but she’s not an outsider. I don’t think the DNC (or the repubs) realized how disgusted the American people are. The fact remains that nearly 1/2 of qualified, registered voters did not vote.

    Then there’s the press and the polls — by touting HRC’s lead and predicting the “certainty” of her victory, they could easily have inspired “Oh WTF, she’s going to win, anyway. I’ll register my protest. It’s just one vote. It won’t count.”

    I just have a strange, nagging feeling — and it might just be denial — that The Donald will never be inaugurated.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you’re right. Regardless of Sanders’s motivation, I think he has an obligation to work to fix what he broke. You break it, you buy it.

      Yes, I believe there WAS a deal that it would be Hillary’s turn after Obama. But she wasn’t the right candidate for this time, no matter how qualified she was or how hard she had worked. The presidency isn’t what you get promoted to for doing a good job in the past. That works in a parliamentary system, but not ours.

      Mainly, I think we need to regroup, rethink, and stop attacking each other. Find some meeting of the minds. Figure out what we stand for. What our issues are. Then focus, field a candidate who can win. If we don’t, we are going to lose again. And again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/11/11/elizabeth-warren-bernie-sanders-duo-will-lead-liberals-senate/vjyyHGz38b5ct4w1FIFp4N/story.html

        I think Sanders knows he has to do something. I am sure his influence had something to do with so many states passing things on the progressive end of the spectrum. I wish he’d had the ability to persuade people to put Dems in the House, but… I imagine he knows that he started something way beyond his imaginings.

        There’s a lot of grassroots stuff going on in Colorado in the more conservative and populated counties to find ways to unify moderates and progressives against reactionaries. That’s good and I am sure it’s happening other places.

        If we could just get the media to quit paying attention to Louis XVI’s rantings, petulances and inanities. We don’t actually NEED a president. I think we could just put him on a throne for four years and use it as an opportunity to restructure the gubmint.

        You’re right about needing to find a candidate who can win — NEITHER party had anything to offer, clearly. BOTH of them seem to be equally out of touch. Sanders is not a Dem; Louis XVI is not a republican. I think we need to take these four years and figure out what the people really need (vs what they say they need — red states having voted against their own best interests).

        Once again, I’m happy I’m (nearly) 65.

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        • From you mouth to the ear of news directors the world round. I think if they had been less enthusiastic about publicizing Trump’s every stupidity during the campaign, the playing field would have been a lot flatter. I’m hoping there’s stuff going on around this state, too, but Massachusetts is SO blue, some places they run two Democrats because the GOP doesn’t feel it’s worth the effort to run someone.

          This seems to be a great time to avoid social media. The feeding frenzy and hysteria is nerve-wracking. Until this election, I would have considered us mildly left of center. Now i feel like a a frothing at the mouth socialist. Context. It’s all about context.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m the same as I have always been. I grew up out here, raised by Montanans who lived through the Depression and the war, extremely independent people. Since I’ve been back, I have re-experienced that perspective and way of living. Living 30 years in CA, I saw how — without a strong (very blue) government — people would really suffer.

            Out here people suffer, too, but don’t look to the government for help. They should, actually, because programs exist that would help them, but it isn’t what they’re used to. This means that I will live to fit my world, but I will probably always vote Blue since most people live in places where I have seen how much government programs matter and what a difference they make.

            I guess this should mean that I understand the hardcore Louis XVI voter, but I don’t. I think they’re just vengeful, ignorant, whiny, neo-Nazi, shits and we cannot co-exist. However, I think that group is in the minority.

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            • I just hate that so many of the things I fought for when I was young — and thought we’d won — seem to be up for grabs again. It’s like a game of chutes and ladders. Just as you’re almost home, you hit one of those chutes and down you slide. This stuff won’t affect us personally, at least not much. Massachusetts has its own infrastructure. But this stuff does matter, even if not so directly to us. It’s sad to be going backwards. I’m glad most of the vengeful, ignorant, whiny, neo-Nazi shits aren’t living in Massachusetts.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I’m sad about it, too, and disgusted. It’s stage three of the disgust I felt when people thought Obama was a savior, then I saw the blatant racism of the right wing of the House and senate, and then here we are. I never fully understood how I have been treated as woman, either, until I watched HRC debate Louis XVI. I have learned a lot in the past 8 years — not just in politics but reality — and that’s why I’m where I am today, in the archetype of boonies. Following the lead of P.K.Dick’s Man in the High Castle (not the Netflix series but the book) and the wise advice of Edward Abbey and Huckleberry Finn. Over these past couple of years since I retired, I realize that is what I’ve done. I’ve lifted my middle finger as high as I can and I’ve lighted “out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.” 🙂

                BUT if I look on Google maps at the MOST remote part of my valley, I can see it has all been plotted out for development, mini-ranches. I do not think I will live to see that, and least I hope not.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I think in a way, we’ve done the same. We are pretty isolated. Unlike your valley, this is not a cultural oasis, but it isn’t the heartland of racism and ignorance, either. A bit more Christian than either of us would prefer, but people are generally pleasant and non-aggressive and willing to let you live your life as long as you leave them to live theirs. That’s very much the tradition of New England. We are private people, generally charitable and neighborly in an impersonal way. I find it suits me. The weather is rough for us at our age, but I’d rather be here with bad weather, than most of the places with better weather and a lot more people and problems. We might have done okay on the west coast, but I really like seasons, even though I complain about them. My heart and soul loves the rhythms of the seasons and the changes in the landscape and light. My bones don’t necessarily agree. I never expected to have so many health problems so young. Probably no one expects health problems, but they happen and I think living here with access to really GREAT doctors and hospitals is the reason I’m still alive.

                  I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of development around here. A little bit, here and there, but we are too far from Boston for most people to commute and New England doesn’t make deals that favor heavy industry. We did heavy industry 200 years ago and are still cleaning up the pollution. So I guess here we stay. I just wish we had more people around to hang with. The few local people we used to socialize with and who we liked very much up and died on us. One right after the other. Everyone else we meet seems to be trying to convert us to some level of Christianity in which we are not interested. Garry might not mind as much, though I think while he believe what he believes, he’s not very churchy and he hates being preached at.

                  Getting old is such a pain.

                  Liked by 1 person

    • Martha, I like a lot of what you’ve said. I think the Dems took a lot of people for granted. It’s obvious from the places they only gave minimal attention. If the New England Patriots Football Guru, Bill B. (Sadly an Orange Head fan) was running the show, he would pay attention to all the little details and be ready for any situation.
      As for the Orange Head inauguration, I think it’s gonna be the biggest pageant since “Miss America”, complete with Bert Parks imitators and a Hooters floor show.
      Yow-zah! Yow-zah!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, Garry. My tiny (population) county is split half and half. I think if the Dems had had half a brain, they would have done research to dig out populations like the one here in which people are poor and proud, need help and whose vote could have been turned. There are some grain silos east of here on which the owner has — for the past 16 (?) years, obviously — painted his favorite candidates. Bush/Cheney;McCain/Palin; Romney/Ryan. He did NOT paint Trump/Pence and I think that’s a very clear statement to anyone who’s paying attention. IMO, HRC’s convention was like a geriatric Quinceañera, white outfit and all.

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  4. If HRC ran such a bad campaign, what would you have done different? I think that I would have held back a surprise like Miss Universe until a week before the election. But honestly, misogyny won this election and she was damned if ya do and damned if ya don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She needed to intereact a lot more with the press and her people. I’ve met her a couple of times. I get that public appearances are not her forte. She’s much more comfortable in smaller groups and I suspect, she’s a little shy. But the campaign is not a negotiation. If you aren’t fully engaged, you will lose.

      If you look at the Democratic winners and losers over the past 50 years, you can see a pattern. A very obvious one. The candidates who win are the ones who are good with crowds, empathetic, personable, outgoing. Is it fair? Probably not, but that is the system we have and I don’t see it changing anytime in my lifetime. So fielding a candidate who doesn’t like getting down into the pits with the people? Not going to work well.

      Her husband, one of the all-time best campaigners, warned her she wasn’t sending the message her constituents needed to hear. Neither she nor her staff wanted to hear that message … and we are stuck with Donald Trump.

      I also think Bernie Sanders did a lot of harm. That kind of corrosive, oppositional intra-party feuding erodes public confidence and I think it got Hillary’s campaign off to a bad start from which I don’t think she ever quite recovered. There is, as I said, more than enough blame to go around. My question is not who is to blame, but what do we do now? Because if we do what we’ve done so often in the past which is eat each other for lunch and spit out the bones, we are just setting ourselves up for more defeat. If the Democratic party can’t get its act together — get ITSELF together — we’re screwed.

      I LIKE Hillary Clinton, personally and I think she would have been a great president. But your first obligation as a candidate is to WIN. If you don’t win, nothing else will matter. Maybe you’d have been great, but all you will be is an historical footnote. That’s politics.

      What would I have done? I wouldn’t have run at all. I’d be a horrible candidate.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I came to know so much about the most eventful and controversial elections of America, sad to see Hillary losing despite having everything in her but as you said that she didn’t like getting down into the pits with the people as a result you are stuck with Donald. Really this post is so well written.

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    • Thank you. It’s a real shock to a lot of us … not that we lost because losing is just part of the process … but losing to that particular person. It’s going to be a very rough and scary four years. I hoped that winning might make him realize the seriousness of the job, but apparently not. But it is what it is and there’s nothing much to be done about it right this moment, We just have to figure out how to do much better next election. MUCH better,.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We have to stop “wimping out” and just accepting all this as our just deserts for what we’ve done, or allowed to be done. Yes it is our fault, but the thing, itself, is enough punishment. When we make a mistake we say I’m sorry and promise never to do it again. Well, this time we’d better mean it, fix it, and really never do it again. I’m not comfortable with just lying back and letting fate have its way with me. We stood against the odds in the 60s and changed the face of segregation and bias, not perfect, but changed.., we need to stand our ground again and demand fair elections.., NATION WIDE!. I now believe what Trump said when he accused the system of being “rigged.” It IS rigged and vulnerable to “hacking” and “loop holing,” albeit not the way Trump suggested, but rigged never the less.

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    • I totally agree with you. Sadly, I’m not up manning the barricades anymore. But Garry keeps pointing out that this blog IS a bully pulpit of sorts, so we have this. You are welcome to contribute. I don’t have to always agree with you and I frequently don’t agree with all the people who post on Serendipity. What would be the point in having diverse voices if they all sound the same?

      I think we have a much better chance of changing the way campaigns are funded than of changing the constitution, so I’m more inclined to put my efforts in that direction. Because if we take the big money — or at least LIMIT the big money — a lot else will also change and THAT doesn’t require a constitutional amendment, just a regular law that can stand up to Supreme Court scrutiny. This is where people with big mouths like Bernie Sanders need to do something positive. Get a good bill written, Push it. Because I think a lot of the GOP is very unhappy with Trump as president. He really ISN’T a Republican. He’s just Trump. So it’s just possible we might be able to make some progress on an issue that really, urgently needs fixing.

      And setting limits on the length of campaigns (how I do not know, I admit) and the amount of money that can be spent on them (that we CAN do as other countries have done).

      I’d rather put whatever I have left to give into “doable” things. The years have made me very pragmatic. I believe the same stuff I always believed, but I recognize that progress happens step by step. So we need to keep walking forward.

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  7. Well we do agree that something extraordinary has happened and if it’s not a wake-up call I don’t know what is. I’m hoping the Republicans realize that they’ve sabotaged the country in their zeal to have a popular electable candidate, no matter what the consequences. Doable things are a good goal, but we must balance that with seemingly “un-doable” things as we don’t know WHAT is possible until it’s not.

    I think Bernie began to see the folly of his campaign near the end where his supporters refused to give in.., and probably refused also to vote in Hillary’s favor. I also think that She would have done better to grab Bernie as her running mate, thus drawing in those supporters? But sadly, I believe her ego got in the way and so here we are.

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    • Yes. Too many egos, too little commonsense. Of course “commonsense” is not at all common and is particularly rare amongst politicians. Hillary should have made peace AND joined forces with Bernie … or the dems should have recognized that Hillary wasn’t, despite all previous promises and deals, the right candidate for this election. I dare say that the GOP was as surprised as everyone else that Trump won. You and I were less surprised, but we are not big fans of fake news from either side — or polls. Polls only tell you what you asked and they don’t necessarily ask the question that needs asking.

      We did so much wrong. Everyone did so much wrong. It’s pointless to try and blame anyone, but it isn’t pointless to try and remind everyone that unless we want a repeat of this year, liberals and Democrats and everyone who is on the left of the middle has some work to do. And I don’t mean manning the barricades. We need a serious think.

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