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
Why America Votes On Tuesday
Aug 29 2014
TBC: Morning Musing 8.29.14
So I saw this meme on Facebook today that I’m ambivalent about today.
May 06 2014
Voting is to politics…
…as praying is to religion.
And produces about the same results.
Mar 04 2014
The Politics of Racial Divide
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
My Little Town 20121107: Voting Then and Now
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 21 2012
“The West Wing” Returns
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 Candidate Wins Primaries, Blasts Obama
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.
Jul 09 2011
Ten Reasons why I Shall Vote Republican Next Time 20110709
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 20 2010
Rank Choice Voting Paid Off for a Poor Candidate
Have you ever heard of ranked-choice voting? There’s good and bad points but Oakland was recently the first large U.S. city to use it for a mayoral election. Jean Quan who came in second in the election ended up becoming mayor and offers some of the good points in last night’s PBS NewsHour video. (click here for video and transcript)
SPENCER MICHELS: Quan thinks, without ranked-choice voting, which takes the place of a runoff in situations where nobody gets a majority, she would have been in trouble raising money for another election.
JEAN QUAN: In a traditional system, I would have had to raise $400,000 in June, and I would have to try to raise $400,000 in the fall. My husband and I actually put a second mortgage on our house to make sure we’d have enough money on Election Day.
Well obviously she was not exactly an impoverished candidate but there are many questions and answers addressed in the link above about this means of avoiding runoff elections. Another PBS video and transcript that takes a closer look at Oakland’s new mayor helps also helps to explain rank-choice voting.
But the new system used for the election garnered as much attention as the candidates and the issues. This was the first year the county used “ranked-choice voting,” which asks voters to name the second- and third-choice candidates in addition to their top one. In the first round of voting, State Sen. Don Perata won the most votes but he didn’t have enough to secure the required majority. After an eight-day vote count, city council member Jean Quan got more than enough second- and third-place votes to overtake Perata and win.
Nov 03 2010
Alfred Hitchcock Presents… The 2010 Elections in Editorial Cartoons w/Poll Closing Times
Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma
Alfred Hitchcock Presents… The 2010 Elections