Democracy Blog.

A blog about democracy.

Making Election Day a Holiday in Ohio

Not only is this an important step for voter empowerment, perhaps the most important part is this shows how significant electoral reform can be established at the municipal level. While the House holds hearings on HR1, the For The People Act, it’s not expected that Trump will sign it or that Senate Republicans will vote for it. It’s more of a “someday” thing. When the Help America Vote Act was passed in 2002 to respond to the disaster of the 2000 Florida election, HAVA brought more problems than solutions, instituting the provisional ballot and paying for touchscreen voting machines.

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Klobuchar Pushes Wisconsin Myth

It has become some kind of accepted excuse that Hillary’s narrow loss in Wisconsin was the fault of her not visiting the state just before the election. Colbert jokes about it, SNL jokes about it, it has settled as the one thing people seem to grasp went wrong in a confusing election that had more Russian bots than voters.

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Elizabeth Warren: "Change the Rules to Strengthen our Democracy"

“Change the rules to strengthen our democracy. And that starts with a constitutional amendment to protect the right of every American citizen to vote and have that vote count. Oh, and that’s just the beginning. Overturn every single voter suppression rule that racist politicians use to steal votes from people of color. Outlaw partisan gerrymandering by Democrats or Republicans. And overturn Citizens United, our democracy is not for sale.”

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AOC on HR1

Congress is holding hearings on HR1, the For The People Act, a broad anti-corruption reform package introduced by Rep. John Sarbannes, who introduced a screening of PAY 2 PLAY on Capitol Hill in 2016. HR1 aims to make voting easier, gerrymandering harder, transform how campaigns are financed, and enhance election security.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke at a hearing with representatives from Common Cause, Brennan Center, and other advocacy organizations to outline the very legal ways that our campaign finance rules allow corruption. Please watch her thorough breakdown:

State of the Union Flashback

As we look back on how we got into this roadside car crash on the road toward democracy, the biggest blowout we hit was in 2010, when the Roberts Supreme Court dropped Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission. As I detail in Democracy Days, the Citizens United decision allowed outside spending into our elections with few limits and no disclosure, striking down Watergate-era reforms, and creating Super PACs, which are as transparent as swamp water.

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PAY 2 PLAY on YouTube

Our 2014 documentary on the fight to get money out of politics is now on YouTube, PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes. So now there’s at least one documentary on YouTube that isn’t a conspiracy film about the Federal Reserve.

"The best documentary about speaking truth to power since The Big Lebowski" — John Nichols (The Nation/MSNBC)

Stacey Abrams: "Voter Suppression is Real"

“We can do so much more: Take action on climate change. Defend individual liberties with fair-minded judges. But none of these ambitions are possible without the bedrock guarantee of our right to vote. Let’s be clear: voter suppression is real. From making it harder to register and stay on the rolls to moving and closing polling places to rejecting lawful ballots, we can no longer ignore these threats to democracy.”

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Not Another 2016

As we ramp up for another presidential election, we gird ourselves for heated rhetoric, bad media, and disappointments. We embrace all this because we believe in the redemption of voting, of listening to our fellow citizens, and that better days are ahead if we participate in the process our founders set up. It’s part of being a good American.

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Tripping on Democracy

I remember a friend of mine in high school told me about an ill-fated time when he and his buddies went to drop acid, for some reason, at Northbook Court, the popular nearby shopping mall. As the acid came on, what started out as a goofy expedition began to induce anxiety and paranoia. They retreated from their plan and headed home. But that required driving, at rush hour.

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Keeping the Heat on Clarence Thomas

Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has made the news again for meeting with Donald Trump and fronting a far-right religious group. The reason is, previous jurists on the Supreme Court have traditionally kept their political interests quiet so as to not raise doubt about their objectivity. A problem with modern Republicans is their willingness to contort our democracy norms to advance their fundamentalism.

Here is a section of Democracy Days that covers the troubling alliances of Thomas & Thomas.

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Important Census Victory

Judge Jesse M. Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the administration Tuesday to stop its plans to add the question to the survey. Calling Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add the question “arbitrary and capricious,” he blasted Ross for “egregious” violations of the Administrative Procedure Act.

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First Dates

I remember reading a list of unintentional wisdom that first graders wrote, one of them wrote about first dates: ‘People pretending to be someone else than they are so that a person will like them.’ That’s pretty much what politics has become.

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Why a Book?

This book is a collection of essays and interviews during the Obama era that appeared in HuffPost which are still relevant. There is still long-term reform of our voting systems and campaign finance laws to be achieved. In these essays there is unknowing prescience about the rise of the right wing as a backlash to Obama’s election. The flash point that was Occupy Wall Street had to be experienced to be understood, but its captivating launch is relayed in these pages.

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As idealized as the Obama years may seem, it wasn’t that our democracy was healthy because the popular vote winner was in power. In fact, the backlash was swift and vengeful, but the glow of victory on Obama’s election night kept us convinced that America was ours from now on. But it is on certain days that democracy gets a win—automatic voter registration going into effect in California, Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered maps being struck down in court, a first-time transgender candidate replacing the Assembly member that wrote North Carolina’s anti-trans bathroom bill. 

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