Have you ever wondered why the United States votes on Tuesday when most industrialized counties and even most third world nations vote on Sunday or has the day as a national holiday. Now, granted, some states have early voting and one has gone completely voting by mail and not everyone gets Sundays or federal holidays …
Nov 01 2016
Sep 13 2014
The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law has released a new study, this time concerning the affects of Voter ID. The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in 2014 General Election, written by Jody Herman, concludes that there could be over 24000 eligible transgender voters across ten states who will not be able to vote because of Voter ID laws.
The Institute finds that there are approximately 84000 eligible transgender voters in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. All those states have photo voter ID laws except Wisconsin…which might have one come election time. The study estimates that 28% of those eligible voters do not have valid photo ID that reflects their gender and name sufficient to the standards of the laws.
Lawmakers should not overlook the consequences of enacting stricter voter ID laws on transgender voters. Election officials must consider the potential impact of these laws in the upcoming November elections. Voter ID laws create a unique barrier for transgender people who would otherwise be eligible to vote.
Mar 05 2014
Great deal of right wing criticism of President Barack Obama is motivated by the fact that he is part African American. Many of the new voting laws being passed in Republican controlled states are racially motivated. Much of the rhetoric regarding the social safety net is openly couched with terms like “Welfare Queens,” and “lazy, dependent and entitled.” Racism in America is alive and well and flourishing.
Ian Haney López, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley and senior fellow at Demos, writes an account of the history of subtle racists language and how it is used today:
In Dog Whistle Politics, Demos’ new Senior Fellow Ian Haney López offers a sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. Dog whistle appeals generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social services. White voters, convinced by powerful interests that minorities are their true enemies, fail to see the connection between the political agendas they support and the surging wealth inequality that takes an increasing toll on their lives. The tactic continues at full force, with the Republican Party using racial provocations to drum up enthusiasm for weakening unions and public pensions, defunding public schools, and opposing health care reform.
Mr. Haney López joined Bill Myers to discuss the Dog Whistle Politics of Race
The transcript can be read here
Haney López is an expert in how racism has evolved in America since the civil rights era. Over the past 50 years, politicians have mastered the use of dog whistles – code words that turn Americans against each other while turning the country over to plutocrats. This political tactic, says Haney López, is “the dark magic” by which middle-class voters have been seduced to vote against their own economic interests.
“It comes out of a desire to win votes. And in that sense… It’s racism as a strategy. It’s cold, it’s calculating, it’s considered,” Haney López tells Bill, “it’s the decision to achieve one’s own ends, here winning votes, by stirring racial animosity.”
Nov 08 2012
Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River. It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.
This piece is divided into two parts: the part that I wrote yesterday after getting back from voting and the part that I wrote this evening after what started as a nailbiting session for me watching the returns come in last night that ended in both relief and satisfaction.
I became eligible to vote in 1975, and my first opportunity to vote was in the primary in 1976 on 25 May. Arkansas is an “open primary” state, meaning that you can vote in either the Democratic primary or the Republican primary as you wish, but not in both. This is unlike Kentucky where you have to register as a Democrat (and can vote only in the Democratic primary), a Republican (and can vote only in the Republican primary), or as an Independent (and can vote in no primary). I voted in the Democratic primary in 1976 because at the time the Republicans were very minor players in Arkansas.
I lived in the 3rd Congressional district, and no Democrat chose to run for the House of Representatives, so I did not vote for anyone for that. It was also an off year for the Senate for Arkansas, so I did not vote for anyone for that, either. Under the influence of my parents I made a mistake and voted for Orval Faubus in the primary!
Sep 22 2012
Don’t get excited. “The West Wing” hasn’t really returned but the cast did get together to make a campaign video for cast member, Mary ” Kate Harper” McCormack‘s sister, Bridget Mary McCormack who is running for State Supreme Court Judge in Michigan. The video also has a voting education lesson in it about filling out the non-partisan section of the voting ballot. This is how Michigan and 14 other states choose their supreme court justices. If you think that these races aren’t important, remember that this week the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that returned that state’s controversial voter ID law (pdf) back to the Commonwealth Court for review.
Bridget Mary McCormack is a professor at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who also serves as Michigan Law School’s associate dean of clinical affairs. From her wikipedia bio, she is the founder and co-director of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, the first exclusively non-DNA innocence clinic in the country. Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed the woman who reunited the “West Wing” on his show “The Last Word.”
Mar 22 2012
Green Party* candidate Jill Stein, who ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2010, has taken the lead for her party’s nomination to run for president against dictator Barry Obama and whoever his Republican counterpart is this November.
According to Ballot Access News and other sources, Stein has won enough of the vote in various state primaries to qualify for matching funds. She is competing for the Green Party nomination with Kent Mesplay and Roseanne Barr, the latter of whom she did a Skype session with to Greens across the country.
Stein has blasted Obama for his many betrayals. She criticized his signing of the FAA Re-authorization bill, which further erodes unions, his overtures of war against Iran, his decision to support portions of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would cause further destruction to the environment and jeopardize human health and safety, his assaults on civil liberties including the “Defense” Authorization that allows American citizens to be imprisoned indefinitely without charge or trial, his taking of single-payer and a public option off the table in favor of an insurance-industry-authored mandate to buy private coverage or face stiff tax penalties, and other far right policies embraced by the incumbent.
Stein’s alternatives to all these things and more reads like a leftist’s dream: a Green New Deal to create environment-friendly jobs, an energy policy dedicated to 100% conversion to clean, renewable sources, expanding Medicare to every American and generous funding of public education (including the forgiveness of student loan debt), protecting America’s Safety Net, and ending America’s imperial wars.
Stein does not appear to be on record so far as to prosecuting America’s war criminals, including Obama, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the thugs in their respective regimes guilty of war crimes, but I can’t imagine she would let them off the hook, since it would only reinforce the notion of total immunity for high-ranking lawbreakers – a travesty of justice. (I’ll keep you apprised of this as I learn more.)
With many progressives determined to sit out this election, Stein’s candidacy appears to be offering a welcome alternative.
Feb 06 2012
I used to love to vote. There was something powerful about flexing my civic muscle and flicking a voting lever. I loved the older ladies from the League of Women Voters who’d volunteer and sit for hours at school cafeteria tables with big ledgers and match voters to their names there. I loved signing my name in that big book, and I enjoyed the sense of belonging to this tribe of Americans. And yes, I always felt proud to finally walk into the voting booth, make my voice heard, and perform my civic duty….
That said, I’m not voting in the 2012 national American elections.
Voting has, for me, deteriorated to this: pulling the lever for brand-name candidates who will do the least amount of damage to my country while in office.
That’s how if now feels. The lesser of two evils? It’s even more dire: it’s voting for the saner of two evils.
Jul 09 2011
This is a rare piece, juxtaposed betwixt my regular pieces. OK, now I got your attention! I am sorry for the subterfuge. However, this is actually a more important piece that the title indicates. Unless you fall into one of the ten categories, there is NO reason to vote for a Republican.
I usually do not use satire in my pieces, except for small snippets, but this idea sort of screams hyperbole. I hope that this makes people think. If it does, I succeeded. If not, I failed. You tell me in the comments.
Nov 03 2010
Oct 29 2010
Just a note before I begin. These are just the candidates that I know of from my work in the Green Party and what I can glean online. There are plenty of other strong Green candidates for state offices all over the country. Not to mention, there are tons of strong local Green candidates. You can find Green candidates near you at NewMenu.org.
With these three candidates representing just one part of a group of strong state legislative candidates the Green Party has running across the country this year, the party has a chance to make history. Since its founding, the party has had four state legislators in office, with one of them being the result of a party switch. There’s now a good chance that they could elect that many state legislators in a single election.
1. Ben Manski. Manski is an environmental and democracy advocate running one of the strongest Green campaigns in the nation. He’s widely regarded as a fierce competitor against the Democrat in the race, while Constitution and Republican candidates are also running. He is running for the Wisconsin Assembly in the 77th District, which is in Madison. Manski has racked up an impressive list of endorsements, ranging from local firefighters’ and teachers’ unions to over a dozen current elected officials to statewide figures in the Wisconsin Democratic Party. With a platform that includes support for ending the war on drugs, the creation of a state bank, and only sending the National Guard into combat when a war is authorized by Congress, Manski is impressive not only because of the likelihood of his election, but because of his bold politics.
2. Hugh Giordano. Before the election, I’ll be putting up another post about Giordano, because I’ve been volunteering for his campaign for several months, so I’ll keep it short for now. Hugh is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and when he’s out knocking on doors he’s a union organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers. He has garnered endorsements from several local unions who have been helping with the campaign, as well as from a former Democratic candidate in the race and former US Senator Mike Gravel. He has billboards up, he’s got signs throughout the districts, and he’s got tons of support, especially in the Roxborough neighborhood, where he’s lived for most of his life. (If you donate to Hugh, which I highly encourage!, please use the mailing address and not paypal, as the campaign has been having troubles with paypal. Thanks!)
3. Jeremy Karpen. Karpen is going against the heart of the Chicago machine, a Democratic incumbent whose father is also in government. At one point he actually outraised the Democrat, although that ended once the machine’s corporate interests caught wind of it. Just like Giordano and Manski, he’s been raising an impressive amount of money for a Green and he’s garnered some impressive endorsements, including the Chicago Progressive Democrats of America, a local teachers’ union, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Chicago Tribune. When I interviewed Phil Huckelberry, a co-chair of the Green Party of Illinois, he insightfully pointed out that having even a single Green in the notorious Illinois legislature would give the body a clear conscience, and it would have the potential to create a movement in the state for clean government.
To me, that is what’s most significant about these campaigns. They reject the corruption and compromises on principle (or lack of principle from the start) that are inherent in the Democratic Party. Hugh Giordano’s opponent likes to say that she would remain independent even while being a Democrat in the legislature, but that’s ridiculous. Without the support of the Democrats, she would be nowhere. Yet Giordano, and all other Greens, can prove that better, more honest politics is possible by winning without the support of any machine.
Oct 27 2010
It’s been a few days now since we began a conversation that addresses the issue of how frustrated some number of LBGT voters are with the Democratic Party this cycle; this because they find themselves either frustrated at the lack of progress on the civil rights issues that matter to them, or because they see both the Democratic and Republican Parties as unreliable partners in the struggle to assure equal rights for all.
In an effort to practice some actual journalism, I assembled a version of an online “focus group” at The Bilerico Project (“daily adventures in LBGTQ”), with the goal of gathering some opinions on this subject in the actual words of those frustrated voters.
Part One of this story focused on “stating the problem”, and today we’ll take on Part Two: in this environment, with Election Day staring us in the face, what is an LBGT voter to do?
As before, there are a variety of opinions, including a very informative comment I was able to obtain from a genuine Member of Congress, Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania’s 8th District, and that means until the very end you won’t hear much from me, except to help “set the stage” for the comments that follow.