Category Archives: Politics

Now Is a Good Time for Working People to Get Involved in Politics: An Interview with Liliana Rivera Baiman

Source: Meagan Day, Jacobin, September 27, 2019

Liliana Rivera Baiman is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a working mother, an immigrant, and a community and union organizer who’s running for city council in Columbus, Ohio.

Jacobin’s Meagan Day spoke to Baiman about the power of a city council to fight for workers and unions, Baiman’s experience growing up in a co-op village in Mexico, how the labor movement activated her politically, and what working-class people deserve…..

20 Young People Explain How They Identify Politically and Why

Source: Teen Vogue, Across the Aisle, October 1, 2019

We aren’t born political animals. Figuring out a political belief system is something that takes time, and it’s a process deeply influenced by how our families talk (or don’t talk) about politics; the environments and historical moments in which we grow up; and the information we consume. Teen Vogue surveyed 20 people between ages 16-24 about how they identify politically and why. Here’s what they had to say.
Related:
Gen Z Is The Most Progressive — and Least Partisan — Generation
Source: Lauren Young, Teen Vogue, Across the Aisle, October 2, 2019

…..But in the decade since 2008, younger voters across the ideological spectrum have become more liberal and Generation Z is among the most progressive and diverse in the country’s history. On issues like sexism, racism, homophobia, and bigotry, research suggests that Generation Z has adapted a worldview that embraces more diverse viewpoints. As the country gears up for the 2020 elections, this shift by the Gen Z voters who, along with millennials, outvoted older generations in both the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 midterms, would seem to be a definitive boost for Democrats. But there is another important way Gen Z is setting themselves apart from previous generations and making their mark on 2020.

According to a Pew Research Center report prior to the 2016 election, 50% of young adults self-identified as political independents, although they were much more likely than older generations to hold liberal views on a variety of social and political issues. A poll conducted by the nonpartisan Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) among voters ages 18–24 shortly before the 2018 midterms found that while 56.4% of young people “chose to affiliate with” either the Democratic or Republican political parties, one-third, or 33.1%, identified as Independents — nearly as many as the 35.5% of young people who identified as Democrats and significantly more than the 20.9% who identified as Republicans…..

Tired of Two Parties? Here Are Seven Alternatives
Libertarians and Working Families and Prohibition, Oh My!
Source: Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, Across the Aisle, October 2, 2019

….As the 2020 presidential election kicks into high gear, with debate bingo cards and drinking games making the rounds, it’s easy to feel like there are only two sides: Democrat or Republican.

The reality is that even though the donkey and elephant are the two major players, there are dozens of political parties throughout the country — from the Green Party to more obscure alternatives like the Mountain Party.

What may keep them from the spotlight shone on the two major political parties? Money, infrastructure, and access to the ballot.

….

Partisan divide creates different Americas, separate lives

Source: Robert B. Talisse, The Conversation, September 20, 2019

….It turns out that people’s physical communities, surroundings and lifestyles can be their own form of an echo chamber. This separation is so complete that it includes not only the communities and neighborhoods where people live, but also where people shop and what brands they buy, what sort of work they do, where they worship, what sorts of vacations they take and even how they decorate their homes…..

Trends in State-Level Opinions toward the Affordable Care Act

Source: Julianna Pacheco; Elizabeth Maltby, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Volume 44, Issue 5, October 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Context:
This article argues that the devolution of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the states contributed to the slow progression of national public support for health care reform.

Methods:
sing small-area estimation techniques, the authors measured quarterly state ACA attitudes on five topics from 2009 to the start of the 2016 presidential election.

Findings:
Public support for the ACA increased after gubernatorial announcement of state-based exchanges. However, the adoption of federal or partnership marketplaces had virtually no effect on public opinion of the ACA and, in some cases, even decreased positive perceptions.

Conclusions:
The authors’ analyses point to the complexities in mass preferences toward the ACA and policy feedback more generally. The slow movement of national ACA support was due partly to state-level variations in policy making. The findings suggest that, as time progresses, attitudes in Republican-leaning states with state-based marketplaces will become more positive toward the ACA, presumably as residents begin to experience the positive effects of the law. More broadly, this work highlights the importance of looking at state-level variations in opinions and policies.

Democracy Diverted: Polling Place Closures and the Right to Vote

Source: Leadership Conference Education Fund, 2019

From the summary:
The surge in voting changes at the state and local level after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision catalyzed a systemic examination of poll closures and other seemingly innocuous changes that could have negatively impacted voters of color. In 2016, The Leadership Conference Education Fund identified 868 polling place closures in formerly Section 5 jurisdictions in our initial report, The Great Poll Closure. This report, Democracy Diverted: Polling Place Closures and the Right to Vote, is both an update to — and a major expansion of — our original publication.

Our first report drew on a sample of fewer than half of the approximately 860 counties or county-equivalents that were once covered by Section 5. This report covers an expanded data set of 757 counties. What’s more, the 2016 report relied on voluntary reports of aggregate numbers of polling places that state election officials gave to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. This report relies largely on independent counts of polling places from public records requests and publicly available polling place lists.

In this report, we found 1,688 polling place closures between 2012 and 2018, almost double the 868 closures found in our 2016 report. Additionally, Democracy Diverted analyzes the reduction of polling places in the formerly covered Section 5 jurisdictions in the years between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections. We found 1,173 fewer polling places in 2018 — despite a significant increase in voter turnout. To understand the discriminatory impact of these closures, we analyzed how voters of color were impacted at the precinct level. This analysis — precisely the kind that the U.S. Department of Justice conducted under preclearance — takes time and resources. Our hope is that journalists, advocates, and voters will use this county-level polling place data to scrutinize the impact of poll closures in their communities, to understand their impact on voters of color, and to create a fairer and more just electoral system for all.

Data Note: A Look At Swing Voters Leading Up To The 2020 Election

Source: Ashley Kirzinger, Audrey Kearney, Mollyann Brodie, Charlie Cook, and Amy Walter, Kasier Family Foundation, Issue Brief, September 5, 2019

Findings:
More than one year out from the general election, there are many factors that could influence voters’ decisions to either vote for President Trump or the Democratic nominee or even stay home on November 3, 2020. These factors include the characteristics of the eventual Democratic nominee, views of President Trump, and how motivated voters are feeling about the election. The latest analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation, in collaboration with the Cook Political Report, finds that while a large share of voters are already firm about how they plan to vote in the 2020 presidential election (63%), there is a still a substantial share (30%) who say they have not made their minds up. With three in ten votes still up for grabs, this data note examines the demographics of swing voters: those who either report that they are undecided about their vote in 2020 or are leaning towards a candidate but haven’t made up their minds yet. It also explores the policy issues that could swing these voters to vote for either President Trump or the Democratic nominee.

Why the Right Hates Voting Rights: An Interview With Ari Berman

Source: Luke Savage, Jacobin, September 6, 2019

Conservatives in the United States know they can’t win on a level playing field — so they’ve started rigging the electoral rules in their favor, democracy be damned.

When the Republican Party recaptured the House in the 2010 midterm elections, it marked not only the end of a relatively brief period of Democratic control but also the beginning of a wider offensive against voting rights that has been underway ever since. By capturing key statehouses in 2010 and in the years that followed, Republicans have been increasingly able to tilt the electoral process in their favor — a strategy that has profoundly affected the results of recent elections and was one of the major backdrops to Donald Trump’s surprise Electoral College victory in 2016.

Jacobin’s Luke Savage sat down with Mother Jones senior reporter Ari Berman to discuss the history of gerrymandering and voter suppression — and the considerable impact both continue to have on the course of US politics.

Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Embattled ACA

Source: Diane M. Soubly, Benefits Law Journal, Vol. 32, No. 2, Summer 2019
(subscription required)

In its first seven years, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), now almost a decade old, decreased the number of uninsured persons who used highly expensive emergency care as primary care and curtailed double digit medical inflation. In the first two years of the Trump Administration, the President, the Executive Branch and Congress have devised ACA’s death by a thousand cuts. As former Solicitor General Donald Verrelli observes at page 2 of the Opening Brief submitted by Intervenor-Appellant The U.S. House of Representatives in the appeal from the Texas district court decision holding ACA unconstitutional, “Despite all that the Act has achieved, its political opponents have made repeated efforts to repeal it or to disable it through litigation.” This article updates employee benefits plan designers and litigators about those continuing efforts in the legal battle for the death of ACA…..

A Constitutional Standard to End Gerrymandering

Source: Alton Frye, PA Times, Vol. 5 no. 1, Spring 2019
(subscription required)

To cure the corruption of gerrymandering, take the profit out of it. The Constitution provides the standard for doing so by specifiying that representatives are to be chosen “by the People of the several States.” That provision followed debate in the convention of 1787 that, according to James Madison’s notes, explicitly rejected the option of empowering state legislatures to choose members of the federal house of representatives. In practice, by asserting authority to draw congressional district lines on a partisan basis, state legislatures have usurped the power vested by the Constitution in the people of the states.

Analysis demonstrates that allocating seats in the House according to the statewide vote of the people would produce a national legislature comparable in partisan balance to the current House, but with much greater equity among the parties at the state level. Applying that constitutional mechanism would rob parties of the advantage sought from gerrymandering and create incentives for the fair redistricting procedures that courts and citizens have long sought. This study illustrates the outcomes that would result, increasing competitiveness in 39 states…..

Spending at Trump Properties

Source: ProPublica, 2019

2020 cycle
Top three spenders (as of July 31, 2019):
Trump Victory – $449,715
Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. – $287,740
Republican National Committee – $154,873

2018 cycle
Top three spenders:
Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. – $3,442,383
Republican National Committee – $1,391,855
America First Action, Inc. – $415,578

2016 cycle
Top three spenders:
Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. – $9,812,319
Trump Victory – $650,715
Republican National Committee – $16,412