Posts Tagged ‘2014 Elections’

Can we have a fair election?

May 6, 2015

In a capitalist democracy, there are two sources of power—money power and people power.

These days money power is flourishing—partly because of court decisions that say spending money is free speech under the First Amendment, and that corporations have First Amendment rights, but more simply because of the enormous concentration of wealth.

reagaon-couldnt-vote-todays-gop-vot3r-suppression5_n1At the same time, Republican state legislatures are rigging the election process through gerrymandering, and figuring out ways to disqualify voters, especially blacks, Hispanics and students, and make it more difficult to register to vote.

An analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice indicated that the reduction in the number of votes as a result of voter suppression laws in 2014 was greater than the margin of victory in the North Carolina and Virginia Senate races and in the Kansas and Florida Governorship races.

The Brennan Center can’t prove that the suppressed voters would have voted for the losing candidate, but that’s not the point.  Voting should be regarded as a basic American right.  If it isn’t, we Americans might as well go back to being ruled by hereditary monarchs and aristocrats.

Elizabeth Drew wrote that it is telling how few Republicans participated in the 50th anniversary of the Selma, Alabama, voting rights march.

Investigative reporter Brad Friedman reported electronic voting machines are an even more insidious threat to voting rights, because your vote can be canceled without your knowledge.   He told how easy it is to tamper with electronic voting machines without detection.  Internet voting is even worse.

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Why were Democrats AWOL on minimum wage?

January 26, 2015

President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union message proposed tying the minimum wage to the rate of inflation.

A blogger named Jamison Foser pointed out that the Democrats, who had a majority in the Senate, did not introduce any legislation in 2014 to accomplish that.

minimum_wage_onpagePresident Obama in his 2014 State of the Union message proposed an increase in the minimum wage.

Foser pointed out that the Democrats, who still had a majority in the Senate, introduced a bill in April to raise the minimum wage and, when it failed, they did not try again.

The Republicans who controlled the House of Representatives meanwhile passed bill after bill to repeal Obamacare.

Pundits ridiculed them for this, but in the 2014 elections, the Obamacare mess was a much bigger issue for voters than minimum wage.  Some states that passed referendums to increase the minimum wage still voted Republican.

This is a failure of the whole Washington leadership of the Democratic Party.

What good are politicians who won’t fight for the public good even when it’s popular?

LINK

After the State of the Union by Jamison Foser.  Hat tip to Mike the Mad Biologist.

The political scene: November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

It is better to vote for what you want and not get it,

than vote for what you don’t want and get it.

==Eugene V. Debs

****************************************************

Nothing Left: The long, slow surrender of American liberals by Adolph Reed for Harper’s.

We are all right-wingers now: How Fox News, ineffective liberals, corporate Dems and GOP money captured everything, an interview of Adolph Reed by Thomas Frank for Salon.  Highly recommended.  (Hat tip to Steve Badrich)

Political scientist Adolph Reed expounded in his essay and in Thomas Frank’s interview on the learned helplessness of liberals, and their willingness to settle for the lesser evil.

Voting in itself will not change things, he said, and neither will protest demonstrations or blogging (ouch!).  Only a sustained political workers’ movement, not beholden to either political party, can bring about necessary social change.

Obama Is a Republican by Bruce Bartlett for The American Conservative.

Bruce Bartlett wrote that Barack Obama is guided by the philosophy of Richard M. Nixon, not Saul Alinsky.  In time, conservatives will come to appreciate that Obama was one of them, he said, just as they have come to appreciate Bill Clinton.

There’s One Thing at Stake in the Senate Race by Jonathan Chait for New York magazine.

If Republicans gain control of the U.S. Senate, they will block President Obama’s nominations of federal judges and government administrators.  With all of the faults of the Democrats cited by Adolph Reed, they at least allow the government to function.

Nothing in Moderation by Thomas B. Edsall for the New York Times.

A recent study indicates that voters are more extreme in their views than politicians.  The reason this doesn’t necessarily show up on public opinion surveys is that many individuals are at the extreme “left” of the imaginary political spectrum on some issues, and the extreme “right” on other issues.   It doesn’t mean they’re inconsistent.  It means the left|right and red|blue divisions are arbitrary.

Righteous rage, impotent fury: Thomas Frank returns to Kansas to hunt the last days of Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts for Slate.

Governor Sam Brownback and Senator Pat Roberts have failed to do anything to benefit ordinary Kansans.  Will waging the culture war be enough to keep them in office one more time?  We’ll see.

US midterm elections – The Guardian briefing.