Reform Wave 2018: Issues

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Addie
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Reform Wave 2018: Issues

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Post by Addie » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:40 am

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Daily Beast OpEd - James Kitfield
The Counterattack Against Rigged Elections Begins as Reform Succeeds in Several States ...

Yet there was another election last week that was not stoked by fear and partisan loathing, but rather by a bipartisan spirit of reform and national renewal. Little mentioned in the “horse race” coverage of the mid-terms, that parallel election resulted in a “reform wave” that may very well have the more lasting impact on our democracy.

There were campaign and election reform initiatives on the ballot Tuesday in more than two dozen states and localities, and with a few notable exceptions, they won, sweeping aside defenders of a status quo system that consistently produces incivility, political extremism and government gridlock. Some of the most notable reforms will end the practice of partisan gerrymandering that allows politicians to choose their voters, rather than the other way around, which explains why the vast majority of seats in the House of Representatives are uncompetitive.

Other reforms will end the practice of low-turnout “closed primaries” that empower extreme partisans in both parties and disenfranchise political independents. Still other reforms that passed last week will introduce automatic voter registration to make voting easier, and impose stricter ethics laws on politicians to reduce the influence of money in politics and slow the revolving door between government officials and lobbyists.

“One of the biggest takeaways from the mid-term election is that Americans are making the connection between a rigged campaign and election system and the dysfunction that afflicts American politics,” said Josh Silver, cofounder and director of Represent.Us, a national, non-profit electoral reform group. “Grassroots conservatives and progressives are now linking arms and passing structural reforms around the country to fix our broken politics and eliminate the incentives for politicians to appeal to the most extreme voters in both parties. And based on our research we just witnessed the most democracy reform in a single election ever. That means today is a new world.”

Michigan, Colorado, and Missouri all passed major anti-gerrymandering initiatives, for instance, that will take the drawing of congressional districts out of the hands of political partisans and entrust that critical job instead to independent or bipartisan commissions. A similar initiative in Utah is trending “win” but votes are still being counted. They are set to join Ohio, which passed its own anti-gerrymandering measure earlier this year, as well as California and Arizona, which had already adopted non-partisan commissions.

Voting reforms that automatically register voters whenever they update a driver’s license or state identification card and make it easier to receive absentee ballots passed in Michigan and Nevada last week. Anti-corruption reforms that limit or ban lobbyist gifts to politicians, tighten campaign finance rules and increase government transparency passed in Missouri, New Mexico and North Dakota. A host of voting and anti-corruption reforms passed last week at the city level in Denver, Baltimore, Memphis, Phoenix, and New York.

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Re: Reform Wave 2018: Issues

#2

Post by Addie » Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:31 am

WaPo OpEd- Adam Green
The midterms prove it: Progressive ideas are now mainstream

Americans marched to the polls last week and validated a Democratic message that is a sea change from where the party stood just a few election cycles ago. The center of gravity within the Democratic Party and the general electorate has dramatically shifted in the direction of bold economic populism. ...

This year, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) was perceived as a “moderate” when he won a special election in a nearly 20-point Trump district. But his TV ads focused on protecting Social Security and Medicare from cuts, rejecting corporate PAC money and fighting for workers. In September, he led 150 congressional Democrats in launching the Expand Social Security Caucus — serving as co-chair with Warren and others.

Even Third Way did an about-face — recently calling for the government to supplement Social Security with private savings accounts. (Of course, this proposal helps Wall Street, but this nonetheless cedes the shift from cuts to expanded benefits.)

The trajectory is clear, and corporate Democrats are in denial, arguing in a Post op-ed that progressive populism was “close to shut out” in last week’s midterms and that “mainstream Democrats” won. They are right about one thing, though: Mainstream Democrats did win in 2018.

Candidates who promised to stand up for working people, challenge powerful interests and shake up a rigged political and economic system won up and down the ballot — including more than 300 candidates supported by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Bold, progressive, economic-populist ideas are the mainstream. They won. And they are key to defeating President Trump in 2020.

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Re: Reform Wave 2018: Issues

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Post by Addie » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:43 pm

Salon
Utah voters narrowly approve anti-gerrymandering reform

Utah becomes 4th state to reform gerrymandering this year after ballot initiative passes by 0.6 percent


A proposition in Utah to create an independent redistricting commission to crack down on gerrymandering by lawmakers narrowly passed by less than 1 percent of the vote, a final vote tally concluded on Tuesday.

The Deseret News reports that Proposition 4, called “Better Boundaries,” was approved by a 7,002-vote margin, roughly 0.68 percent of the vote. The proposition would create a seven-person commission that will be appointed by elected officials from both parties. The commission would recommend new district borders to reflect changes in the state’s population following every decennial census. The Utah state legislature will still have the final say over the district boundaries but would have to vote on the commission recommendations. The next round of redistricting will be in 2021, after the 2020 census.

Along with the creation of the independent commission, the proposition also creates new limits on lawmakers’ ability to draw up their own districts, requiring them to minimize dividing counties, cities, and towns. The comes after Republican lawmakers split the more left-leaning Salt Lake City into three of Utah’s four districts to water down the Democratic vote.

“The voice of the people will once again be heard in drawing legislative lines — making sure Utahans choose their representatives and not the other way around," former Democratic Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Republican donor Jeff Wright said in a statement, adding that they "expect the voice of the people will be respected and honored."

The ACLU’s Utah chapter also issued a statement calling on lawmakers to abide by the results and “respect the will of 500,000 Utah voters and let the independent redistricting commission do its job."
Adding:
Mother Jones: Utah—Yes, Utah—Has Approved a Ballot Initiative to Curb Gerrymandering

After two weeks of vote-counting, the measure passed by a tiny margin in one of the country’s reddest states.

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