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Poll Report and post-debate comments

June 27, 2019

June 27 Poll Report


            Good morning everybody.  To begin with, yesterday’s poll was relatively unexpected; Cory Booker beat the book.   The standings of the four men in yesterday’s poll, before the poll was taken, were:

            Cory Booker                         405

            John Hickenlooper                 233

            Bill Weld                               185

            Eric Swallwell                          96


            Which created the following expectations for the poll:


            Cory Booker                         405                 44%

            John Hickenlooper                 233                 25%

            Bill Weld                               185                 20%

            Eric Swallwell                          96                  10%


            But, in fact, Booker took points away from everybody else; Hickenlooper finished down 7, Swalwell down 4, Weld down 1, and Booker up by all 12%:






































            That doesn’t have huge impact on the poll, because the other three candidates don’t control enough points that beating them will move you up by a whole lot.   Booker edges up from 405 (yesterday) to 422 (below):



















































































































de Blasio



            Since yesterday:

            Joe Biden is up 31 points as a result of the removal of the May 7th poll from the data considered relevant.

            Elizabeth Warren picks up another 26 points as a secondary correction.  This pushes Warren over the 2,000 level, which means that 20% of my voters now support Warren more than any other candidate. 

            Corey Booker is up 17 points as a result of yesterday’s poll.

            Pete Buttigieg is up 15 points as a "correction"; a secondary effect from other polls.

            Jeff Flake is down another 5 five points, to another record low for him.

            Julian Castro and Kirsten Gillebrand are down 6 points each as a secondary effect, Andrew Yang is down 7 points and Stacey Abrams is down 8.

            Eric Swalwell is down 9 points as a result of yesterday’s poll.

            John Hickenlooper is down 11 points as a result of yesterday’s poll, and

            Howard Schultz is down 22 points as a result of the removal of the May 7th poll.  On May 7th Biden beat Schultz 68-14, about a 5-to-1 ratio.  Based on subsequent polling, Biden would beat Schultz more than 12 to 1, so that old poll was helping Schultz, hurting Biden, and getting rid of it helps Biden, hurts Schultz. 


            I’m not normally trying to use this space to politic or to advance my personal reactions, but a few thoughts about last night’s debate, if you will permit me.   The three candidates from last night that I was most comfortable with are Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard and John Delaney, with Cory Booker fourth.  I thought Gabbard probably helped herself more than any other candidate.  She was dignified and courteous, and my guess is. . .well, we have had a few years of a President who is neither dignified nor courteous.   Some of the candidates are reacting to that like "Yes!  A President no longer has to be dignified or courteous!  I can cut loose."  My guess would be that after dealing with off-the-cuff insults and petty feuds with third-rank celebrities, there is a hunger in the public for someone who is more the other way.  Which, really, most of the candidates were; all of them behaved appropriately except Inslee and de Blasio and Castro, but Gabbard stuck out in that way. 

            I think, in a general election, Gabbard would probably be the toughest candidate for a Republican to beat, because she is closer to the center than most of the others, but that for the same reason she almost certainly cannot get the nomination.   She gets beat on for coming from a conservative personal background, which I don’t care anything about.  She takes heat for meeting with Bashir al-Assad, which I actually think is appropriate; the universe is filled with bad guys, and you have to do business with them.  She took some criticism last night for saying that the Taliban (or people very much like them) have been in Afghanistan for a long time and are going to be there when we’re gone, but that’s just speaking truth to power; they ARE going to be there when we’re gone.  I don’t know a lot about her and I’m not supporting her, but I like her, as I like Delaney, although I doubt that either has a real chance. 

            Jay Inslee, I thought, made a complete ass of himself, first by pretending to be the only person on the stage who cared about women’s rights and second, his main argument for the nomination is that he can scream louder about climate change than anyone else can, because he’s a big strong man with a loud voice.   De Blasio seemed. . . maybe not as bad as his reputation, but you could kind of see what it is about him that people don’t like.   And Julian Castro; whereas Inslee was more of an asshole, Castro was more of a jackass.  His attack on Beto O’Rourke over exactly which section of legal code must be corrected to improve things at the border was silly; what is necessary to improve things as the border is a broad-based agreement to improve things at the border.  It isn’t LAWS that are creating this problem; it is bad faith, on both sides of the political aisle.  Castro’s kicking off his campaign in Puerto Rico, which is not a state, is offensive, and his citing as proof of his ability to get things done some obscure, miniscule things that he did years ago as mayor of San Antonio was. . .WHAT?   That’s why you think you should be President? 

            Not saying that I wouldn’t vote for either Inslee or Castro; I just didn’t see much that I liked.   Tim Ryan does not seem to have the skills necessary to run a strong campaign, but he made perhaps the best point of the night in arguing that the Democratic Party, to win the White House a little more often, needs to be careful about projecting an elitist image.  The last three Democrats to win the White House—Obama, Clinton and Carter—were all very good at projecting an everyman image, while the last five to lose—Hillary, Kerry, Gore, Dukakis and Mondale—all came across as snobs.   Hillary’s background is similar to her husband’s, and to Obama’s—modest family background, but went to an elite university at a young age, but whereas Obama and Bill Clinton retained a sense of being grounded, Hillary adopted without reservation or restraint the manners and belief systems of the academic class.  

            Elizabeth Warren clearly seems to understand this.  I’ve never much liked Warren; I was in Massachusetts when she launched her political career, and I didn’t much like her then.   I think, frankly, that she’s a chameleon, adopting the colors she needs to wear for the environment she is in.   That’s not an endorsement, but it’s normal for a politician; at least she seems to be pretty good at it.  She is talking about being from Oklahoma and being raised in a poor family, rather than talking about being a Harvard Law professor.   This is, in my view, very good judgment on her part.  The people who care about her being a Harvard Law Professor will vote for her anyway; the people she has to win over are the people who would prefer to vote for an Okie from Muskogee.   My problem with it is that I don’t think it is authentic.  I think that, as much as Hillary or even more, she actually HAS worn the coat of a costal elite for so long that she can no longer take it off.  

            Cory Booker was OK except for that idiotic comment about gun buy-back programs.  Gun manufacturers LOVE gun buy-back programs; it’s basically the government pumping money into the purchase of weapons.  Otherwise I thought that Booker had a good night. 

            Other than John Delaney, nobody said one word about what I regard as the most serious issue facing our country, which is the partisan divide.  Anyone who says, "We can crush those evil Republicans, we can render them powerless, we can take all the money away from the rich people who fund them, and we can win all of the elections and run everything. . ." well

(a)  Republicans are not evil; they just have different ideas than you do, and

(b)  No, you can’t.

You’re NOT going to win all of the elections.  And if I thought you were going to win all of the elections and run everything, I’d vote against you; I’m happy with you winning some of the elections, but not all of them.  Rich people are really, really good at defending their interests in the political universe.  I don’t actually believe that you can stop them from doing this. 

I live in the Midwest.  I don’t see that a lot of people around here hate the Democrats or hate their ideas or want them driven into the ocean.  But almost all of the people who are close to me, here in Lawrence and around the country, HATE the Republicans and HATE their ideas and want to just get rid of them.   This is very unhealthy.  All of the candidates except Delaney and Gabbard, it seemed to me, were pandering to the worst elements of their party.   We don’t need anger; we need leadership.  The plan that Elizabeth Warren needs most is the only plan she doesn’t have:  a plan to work with the Republican party in governing the country, not against them.  And I would have the same message to all of them:  if you really want to be President, you need to recognize that Lindsey Graham and Nikki Haley and Joni Ernst and Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio and John Roberts and Samuel Alito and Rand Paul are not evil people and are not racists and are not troglodytes.  They are leaders, and we need for you all to work together.


COMMENTS (31 Comments, most recent shown first)

This is a dead thread but I wanted to add something here. I am writing this one day before Trump holds a parade on July 4, 2019, that is primarily intended to shower glory upon himself and also the Republican Party, which is involved as an official participant, it is an RNC event with military involvement as well. If you meditate on Bill's premise here, that the Democrats are interested in "eliminating" the Republicans from government, I think it is a little contradictory to see Trump here attempting to annex what is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical celebration of national unity and turn it into something that Democrats are excluded from. It is this general moment that Bill elects to aim his exasperation at Democrats. I don't know, man, I know you live in a liberal place and you are tired of liberals ranting at you about Trump and Republicans, but this seems like a considerable error in judgment to me.
9:32 AM Jul 3rd
Steven Goldleaf
Different ideas? Putting kids in cages is not a different idea--it's evil. Praising Putin and Kim and MBS while rejecting U.S. intel is a policy difference, I suppose, and not necessarily evil but it does flatly contradict GOP dogma for generations, and it's more than hypocritical of GOP pols to defend so radical a change without giving a reason better than "I'm afraid of getting primaried." This is a false equation of the parties, Bill, to say "They're both hypocrites" and to wash your hands.
4:50 PM Jun 29th
At least two states have passed measures to dramatically reduce the powers of the office of the governor in order to ensure that an incoming Democrat cannot do anything (Wisconsin and South Carolina, there may be others). I'm not aware of Democrats doing anything similar to ensure that an incoming Republican cannot do anything. I wish Bill were just even slightly interested in topics like this, I see no evidence that he is. Recent laws disenfranchising Democratic groups (students, African Americans etc.) are rampant, no such movement exists in the other direction. Bill could get upset about that but instead he points the finger at intolerant Democrats. I think he's wrong on the merits here, just my opinion.
4:33 AM Jun 29th
As a Democrat and 'liberal' who is ambivalent about getting rid of the electoral college and/or changing how Senate seats are apportioned, I have to say that it's debatable whether we should flat-out say "inequities"

It gets to the principle of what the country is. Is it simply/mainly a country, or it is a union of states? As far as I know, the basic principle, for better and worse, was the latter from the start, and in principle it continues to be. I think abolishing the electoral college would represent (and require) a '180' on that principle.

Of course from a pragmatic view I wish the last few presidential elections were decided just by the popular vote, and I wish the Senate (and Supreme Court) were more reflective of the total population. But, I don't know, maybe because I'm more a captive of tradition than I should be (which influences my baseball views too), I'm not at all sure, all things considered, that the current way is more inequity than equity.
2:12 PM Jun 28th
A clearer way to state the premise is to point out that the Republicans have beaten the Democrats in popular vote exactly one time in the last 30 years, the lone exception being the one year vandorn mentioned. The Democrats deserve some blame here for neglecting the state-level offices, the Republicans properly did their due diligence there. The inequities involved in the way both House and Senate are apportioned have been documented in great detail.
12:03 PM Jun 28th
vandorn, that's a fair point. I may have overstated that bit. The real gripe on the bench from a Democratic perspective is Gorsuch. It's now 4-5 instead of 5-4, which is a huge deal and exactly parallels what is happening in the other branches.
11:59 AM Jun 28th
Steven Goldleaf
Funny, hotstratrat--I'm a dual Canadian/U.S. citizen too, and I just registered as a Republican in the state of Florida to vote for Bill Weld in the upcoming primary.
11:21 AM Jun 28th
The Republican Party is not goining away soon. People are tribal and the Republicans are a very large tribe. They are entitled to differing values, philosophies, etc., but as many of you have expressed here: a) they have gone too far in the fight for their ways (e.g. denying even hearing Obama's Supreme Court nomination) and b) gone too far in pursuing their greed (e.g. sabatoging the EPA and other government safefuards). And then there is Trump who has largely degraded civility in this world for a generation. There are many bad apples in there and they need to be voted out.

The country needs good choices - we are much better off when both parties are offering good candidates. Thus we need to fight the bad Republicans at the primary level. I suggest as many of you as possible register as Republicans (or if you are in Canada, register as a Conservative - because this is happening here, too, in a somewhat similar way). (I am a dual U.S./Canadian, by the way.) And vote!​
10:25 AM Jun 28th
For whatever it's worth, my 93-year-old, Fox-News-watching, Trump-supporting, extraordinarily-sharp-and-politically-motivated grandmother agrees with you about Tulsi -- she came away thoroughly impressed. I haven't asked her for her reactions to night 2, but my mother -- progressive Episcopalian, Mayor Pete supporter, (in some ways) stereotypical Portlander -- says that Kamala Harris was very impressive.

DaveFleming's comment below is thoughtful and displays good faith.

My favorite book for a time while I was growing up was a paperback copy of "Whatever Happened To The Hall of Fame?" that I found at a Barnes & Noble in Portland and promptly wore to pieces. It turned me into a Bill James fan. In retrospect, one of the things that I found most appealing about that book was that it was the first time I'd ever been exposed to a theory of argumentation. Remember the chapter in which Bill lays out some of the forms of bad argument he sees in HOF discussions, and what good argument looks like? (And the specific examples, like a my-daddy-can-lick-your-little-brother argument, a once-you-lose-your-virginity-what-does-it-matter argument, etc.) I took the message in those pages to apply beyond discussions of baseball, and still try to employ some of it today -- including what I'd now call a principle of charity.

Seems like some people take those pages a different way: as valuable for the purposes of Cooperstown candidacy conversation, but as not at all relevant to how one is to argue when one is talking about politics in a more general sense, or (to be blunt about it) when one is talking about, or to, Republicans. Perhaps that move can be justified -- though a critic *might* say in response that in trying to justify it, you would prove Bill's point above.
10:15 AM Jun 28th
Steven Goldleaf
...whose aim is to avoid compromise.
10:13 AM Jun 28th
Steven Goldleaf
Don't really see a way to find common ground with folks whose guiding political principle is avoiding finding common ground with you. I mean, that's what THEY say their principle is. Whatever I'm for, they oppose before they consider the merits of the argument--Romney's MA health care plan only one case in point. It was great, a GOP idea, until Dems accepted it as a fair compromise between the current system and Medicare For All, when it became a communist plot and the worst idea ever. How do you compromise with people whose aim to avoid compromise?
10:13 AM Jun 28th
Dave, there are some good books on how to sit down and find common ground with people. In a lot of things the goal is the same, the way to get there is different. I have very conservative friends who I talked to who agree in part with some liberal ideas after I talk to them.

My opinion is Trump is the symptom of the problem. He is a big symptom but just getting rid of Trump and electing a Democrat won't get rid of the problems this Country faces.
9:48 AM Jun 28th
You also forgot that Roberts and Alito were nominated after George W. Bush received three million more votes than John Kerry in 2004.
8:50 AM Jun 28th
I forgot about Thomas; change "all" to "most" there.
1:23 AM Jun 28th
On the frustration of the Democrats, it's important to understand that the smaller side is currently running pretty much all of the government. I know it sounds like carping, but Trump got fewer votes than Hillary, the number of people represented by the 'majority' in the Senate is smaller than the out party by a healthy margin, and the same is arguably true of the Supreme Court -- all of the right-leaning Justices were named by Republican Presidents receiving fewer votes than the so-called 'loser.' That same Supreme Court literally today handed down a ruling entrenching the idea that it's fine to disenfranchise people if you can get away with it, just as long as it doesn't literally have to do with people being black or white. This is part of what you were saying about wealthy people defending their interests, but it's not right. It's quite worrisome.
1:13 AM Jun 28th
Oh, Bill. How I wish you were right.
1:04 AM Jun 28th
The most prominent recent American politician who made a big deal out of a willingness to work with the opposition was a Democrat, his name was Obama.
1:04 AM Jun 28th
The betting public is agreeing about what Biden showed. His perceived chance of winning the presidency has dropped 6 points from before the debate -- was 28%, now 22%; chance of getting the nomination down 3 points, from 15% to 12%.

Maybe they're going more on "content" and less on "manner" than I am, and maybe that's why they're still putting him as HIGH as they are.
I say it's way high, although you could say that a single evening can't rightly make as much of a difference as I think this should.

What he showed tonight, IMO, is that he's older than he used to be. :-)
(That's not a d'oh. Sanders, for example, isn't particularly.)
Maybe in some other kind of year, it wouldn't make that much difference. But in this race, I'm saying, it's huge, because a person with such characteristics -- such deficiencies -- would stand very poorly against Donald Trump. He'd be a disaster.

BTW, incidentally, Chris Mathews just asked (to Kamala): "Is Biden finished?"
I don't know what led up to that because I wasn't really listening; was typing.
10:53 PM Jun 27th
: if you really want to be President, you need to recognize that Lindsey Graham and Nikki Haley and Joni Ernst and Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio and John Roberts and Samuel Alito and Rand Paul are not evil people and are not racists and are not troglodytes. They are leaders, and we need for you all to work together."

No, what many of these people are is weak when confronted with the temptations of power. Certainly you have to work with nasty people at times. As Bob Dylan sang:

A nasty, dirty, double-crossin', back-stabbin' phony I didn't want to have to deal with
But I did it for you...

Anyway, you don't know if any of these people are evil or racists or troglodytes. No one knows what is in a persons heart, everyone is the hero of their own movie and has the rationalizations to prove it. It doesn't matter what they are. It matters what they do. You don't have to be racist to do or say racist things.

10:15 PM Jun 27th
But almost all of the people who are close to me, here in Lawrence and around the country, HATE the Republicans and HATE their ideas and want to just get rid of them.

Gee, what does that remind me of? Oh, yeah the last 40 years of republicans. Brought to a final gotterdamerung by the election of a black guy as president.

It's awful hard to be charitable to your opponent, when they've spent the last 40 years telling you you're going to hell.
10:10 PM Jun 27th
More re manner: Biden showing demeanor of mild confusion and uncertainty (watch his EYES!), some mild stammering, occasionally saying wrong word and needing to correct himself.

He's done. You heard it here first.

Types like us dwell too much in our analysis (IMO of course) on concrete factual things -- like, in this case, content. "Intangibles" sometimes count more, and I'm saying that for things like this, they count lots more, including because the content doesn't differ real much among these people.

(If it seems like this echoes some of our debates about baseball, you're right. :-)
Granted, it's more questionable to say this kind of stuff about baseball than it is about political races.)
9:49 PM Jun 27th
Anyone else had their choice influenced by these debates?

I came into it as "Biden, I guess."
Now: between Booker and Harris (not at all from looking for an African American nominee)​
9:40 PM Jun 27th
(pardon the spelling of there.....I hate when that happens) :-)
9:14 PM Jun 27th
About manner as opposed to content (re how I'm talking about it):
If you're watching right now: The thing between Biden and Kamala Harris is a great example.
SHE WON IT, big time (IMO), regardless (IMO) of what we might think of their respective content.

Digression: Many of you might know that in the granddaddy of all presidential debates, Nixon vs. Kennedy, people who just heard it on the radio felt that Nixon did better. Those who saw it on TV felt Kennedy did better. The "visual" made the difference.
(Footnote: This depends on their not being any relevant selection difference between radio people and TV people, about which I don't know and I've never seen addressed.)

On this thing, I think the "visual" was clear: Kamala looked strong and in charge; Biden was uncomfortable and moderately cowering.

That kind of thing is important in any political debate context, but in a context where a big consideration is how they'd stand up in a debate in Trump, it's even bigger.

Big up moment for Kamala, down moment for Biden.​
9:13 PM Jun 27th
As perhaps was expected, tonight's field is stronger. It feels kind of like last night was a wild card game and this is a LCS game.

Several of them tonight are meeting the "manner" test, IMO.
BTW Sanders isn't -- and I guess a lot of it has to do with his "content." Your content affects what your manner can be.
8:32 PM Jun 27th
Just to offer my perspective:

I'm extremely liberal, but I am not so naive as to think the left has the monopoly on what it means to live a just, moral life. I've always been willing to engage with people who are more conservative: some of the best people I've known in my life have been conservatives. I don't hate Republicans. has very much felt like there is no moral motivation underpinning the leaders on the other side. I do not believe for a second that the leaders on the right...characters like Mitch McConnell or Ted Cruz or Lindsey Graham...are operating within any moral structure that isn't their own self-interest. Donald Trump slanders Graham's deceased best friend, he insults Cruz's wife and father...and they smile and toe the line. No leader in the party has stood up and said 'I have a problem with children being tortured.' That seems like a damned low bar to cross.

And that has trickled down...I do not know many Trump supporters who support him for any reason other than anger, or fear. I do not doubt that many of the people who are feeling angry are allowing that anger to blind them to the very terrible things that Trump is doing in their name...but...I'm not content to let them off the hook for that.

You know...I went to CPAC this year: the one in DC where Trump rambled for three hours. I sat in on many of the small panels and listened to very reasonable conservatives say that the Republican Party was going down a terrible path, and I sat in the big hall and listened to the much more famous faces of the party revel and gloat about how great things are going, slapping each other on the back and yukking it up. I came away from that experience understanding that whatever heart still exists in that party is being devoured by a toxic cancer.

Can I talk with a Republican? Sure. I like Thoreau, the ultimate small government guy. But I don't know that I can sit down and find common ground with anyone who still supports Trump in the shadow of these last two years. It's been too much.
8:02 PM Jun 27th
The plan that Elizabeth Warren needs most is the only plan she doesn’t have: a plan to work with the Republican party in governing the country, not against them.

Since the Republicans have no plans whatsoever to work with the Democrats and spent all of Obama's two terms finding ways to say "no" to him, I'd call not trying to work with them to be utterly defensible. I can see some Sanders-style amendments onto Republican bills here and there, but otherwise, it's clear they're not interested in working with the Democrats.

Should that be the way it is? No. But until there's some reciprocity, that's the way it has to be.
7:16 PM Jun 27th
About Gabbard: I thought her opening was terrible, the worst of anybody's -- again, going on manner. She completely ignored the question, never came back to it, and what she said was stiff and obviously canned. After a while I was like "Hey, she isn't doing badly" -- but at least to my take, she never recovered from the disastrous opening.
4:46 PM Jun 27th
......and if we do want to get into details of content and talk about what's idiotic, I'd say that nothing about gun-buyback could possibly be as idiotic as "Medicare For All," which many of the candidates are arguing for.

I'm probably as 'liberal' in an overall sense as any of the candidates, and I know that Medicare For All is seen as a shibboleth for getting the "progressive vote," but I regard Medicare For All, at this moment, as an absurdity, unless there are huge other modifications to make it really work (or even just to make it acceptable to enough people, once they understand what it would mean, which they better, unlike Britain which voted for Brexit and then the next day they made "what is Brexit" their leading internet search). One of the candidates, I think Delaney, gave an example about that, which of course wasn't followed up by anybody.

Does this make me hesitate to be for any candidate who says Medicare For All? No. It's just a detail. It's a rallying cry. It shows where they are on the spectrum, and it's basically where I am on it. There's a lot of ball that would be played before any major changes in health care are implemented, and I'm fine with the manager of that ballgame being someone who is now shouting Medicare For All.

I don't imagine it's possible that what Booker said about gun buyback can be nearly as idiotic as Medicare For all, nor that it's relatively as large a thing within its issue. It really is just a mere detail, isn't it?
4:41 PM Jun 27th
I go on manner more than on content. It's not that I don't count content -- like, I thought Klobuchar was doing quite well until she gave some answers (don't even remember on what, because I pay more attention to manner) :-) that were quite out of it in their content, probably related to immigration.

I'm not sure if Booker's showing in this poll has anything to do with last night, but if it does, I'm not surprised. I thought he was the clear star. I hadn't known which candidate I'd most favor, but now I do. It's been widely said that what a lot of people are going to be looking for is which candidate seems to have the best ability to stand there against Trump and do well -- and to me, in my little opinion there was no doubt. Booker soared over the field.

As to his gun buyback thing: You really think that matters? I sure don't, partly because I don't know anything about the issue (OK, maybe mostly because of that) but also because, well, it's a mere detail, and, just as I don't know anything about the issue and therefore don't have a grasp of aspects like what you talked about here, I don't think many others do either. I don't think it's significant, I don't see that it reflects any major thing about him as a person or as a candidate, and I don't see that it will move any needle or matter in any other way.
He soared. He had a great night.
4:00 PM Jun 27th
Where we agree: Tulsi Gabbard had a very good night. I think she, Beto and Castro helped themselves the most. I don't get your criticism of Inslee doing exactly what you praised Warren for doing, playing the politician. Inslee said more with fewer words than anyone else, and connecting what he said to his role as governor was effective. Warren got the attention at the beginning and handled it well. Booker talked too much without saying enough of substance. I did not think the other four had good nights. Your point about bipartisan support isn't great. Obama tried for two years to work across the aisle until he lost the house. The partisan divide will change some day but the question is whom will lead the change, and when? The issue was over a guy, Mitch McConnell, who so does not work across the aisle that it probably will be a folly to try, until he loses influence. That is what is needed, to work with Dan Crenshaw and others in the GOP, to try to marginalize the old guard over time. The Dems could have spoken about McConnell by connecting his vested interests to his politics, and I think that would be smart to do going forward.
3:07 PM Jun 27th
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