Category Archives: Politics

Boycott Trump app enables consumer-savvy avoidance of The Donald’s empire

Source: Chris Nesi, TechCrunch, November 28, 2016

Americans gobsmacked by the outcome of the U.S. presidential election still have an opportunity to vote against Donald Trump with their wallets, and a new app from the Democratic Coalition Against Trump allows them to do just that.

The app, though fairly rudimentary in design, offers a searchable, alphabetical list of companies and businesses with ties to Trump’s business empire, offering a brief description for each. For what it’s worth, the president-elect has an unprecedented number of extragovernmental business ties, a fact that doesn’t seem to trouble him or his supporters one bit. He recently made headlines with the eerily Nixonian declaration that “the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”….

….Boycott Trump is free and available for iOS and Android…..

Facing Labor and Politics Under Trump

Source: Sarah Jaffe and Michelle Chen, Dissent Magazine, Belabored Podcast #116, November 11, 2016

We look at some bright spots from the election, including the story of how a unique labor-community coalition in Arizona helped defeat the reelection bid of the infamous bigot Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The Next Democratic Party
Source: Timothy Shenk, Dissent Magazine, November 15, 2016

Parties recover from defeat in two ways. They can try to beat the opposition at their own game, or they can try to change the rules of the game. Donald Trump did the latter. Now it’s the Democrats’ turn.

From Complacency to Solidarity
Source: Madeleine Schwartz, Dissent Magazine, Blog, November 9, 2016

At this moment, it’s hard for me to hope that the Trump presidency and its horrors will mobilize Americans enough. But it must.

Why the Democrats won’t win the House in 2018

Source: Anthony McGann, Alex Keena, Charles Anthony Smith, Michael Latner, The Conversation, November 23, 2016

The result of the presidential election may have taken some people by surprise, but the fact that Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives was completely predictable. Republicans would have retained the House almost regardless of who voters supported for president, barring an improbable landslide. As we argue in our book “Gerrymandering in America,” the Republicans will win the House again in 2018 and 2020. ….. Some skeptics argue that gerrymandering isn’t as powerful as some would suggest. Others accept that the district boundaries benefit the Republicans, but argue that this is not because of intentional gerrymandering, but because Democratic support is concentrated in urban areas.

Let’s consider the evidence for these claims. …..

The great Southern gerrymander continues in 2016

Source: Allie Yee, Institute for Southern Studies, Facing South, November 11, 2016

Despite the upsets and shocks of the 2016 election, the results for one governing body came as no surprise — that of the U.S. House of Representatives.

While Southern states like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia were hotly contested in the presidential race and in some cases in U.S. Senate races, there was never much of a question that Republicans would maintain their edge in these states’ congressional delegations or that they would keep control of the House overall. While Democrats did gain seats in the House on Tuesday, Republicans still continue to hold a 239 to 193 majority.

That’s due in no small part to gerrymandering — politicians drawing district lines for partisan advantage. Often criticized for corrupting the democratic process by allowing representatives to pick their voters and create “safe” districts, the practice was used largely to Republicans’ advantage in Southern states as they swept control of many legislatures in 2010 and drew new district lines that would be in place for the decade to come…….

The Future of the Democratic Party

Source: New York Times, Room for Debate, November 9, 2016

Days ago the fate of the Republican Party in the wake of Donald Trump seemed in the balance. Now the Democrats will have to think seriously about their future after a populist tsunami swept up millions of voters who were once key members of the party’s coalition.

What does the Democratic Party need to do to move forward, attract alienated voters and remain relevant?

Debaters include:
Recommit to Average People, Not Financial Wizards and Stars
Mike Gecan, Industrial Areas Foundation
The party of data and imagery must become the party of meaningful work with living wages, rebuilding the nation as well as the party.

Make Millennials a Part of the Party’s Rebuilding
Symone Sanders, former Bernie Sanders press secretary
With or without the Democratic Party, young people will organize and act. Party leadership should reach out to bring them into the fold.

End the Addiction to Political Money
Josh Silver, Represent.Us
Voters are angry at the cozy relationship between big money and politicians.That anger fueled the candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Criminal Justice Reform Can Empower Forgotten Americans
Glenn E. Martin, JustLeadershipUSA
We cannot create a huge class of permanent social and economic outcasts who are alienated from the political process.

Fight to Rewrite the Economic Rules
Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute
Progressives can bring together white voters who went for Reagan and Obama and now Trump, with people of color.
A Blueprint for a New Party
Seth Ackerman, Jacobin, November 14, 2016

With the rise of Donald Trump, we need to think seriously about what it would take to form a democratic organization rooted in the working class.

How Trump Won
Jedediah Purdy, Jacobin, November 11, 2016

The Democratic Party’s abandonment of the working class cleared the space for Trump.

The Next Democratic Party
Timothy Shenk, Dissent Magazine, Online Articles, November 15, 2016

Parties recover from defeat in two ways. They can try to beat the opposition at their own game, or they can try to change the rules of the game. Donald Trump did the latter. Now it’s the Democrats’ turn.

Notes From a Very Close Election
Bill Fletcher, Jr., Dissent Magazine, Blog, November 11, 2016

The Trump victory was far from a slam dunk. But it still showed an alarmingly large constituency for a racist, misogynist revolt against the future.

Bad New Days
Rich Yeselson, Dissent Magazine, Blog, November 9, 2016

This will likely be seen as one of the most consequential presidential elections in American history—above all, in institutionalizing the GOP as an unchecked vehicle for racism, nativism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny.

The Great Poll Closure

Source: Leadership Conference Education Fund, November 2016

From ProPubilca’s Electionland blog post:
Freed From Federal Oversight, Southern States Slash Number of Polling Places

Voters in states formerly covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act will have at least 868 fewer polling locations at which to cast ballots on Nov. 8, according to a new study by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a civil rights group that supports protections for minority voters. The report found a “widespread effort to close polling places” in some of the states previously covered under Section 5, which was invalidated by a 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The decision allowed states to change voting laws without approval by the federal government. The report looked at the number of polling places for the 2016 general election in states including Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas, compared to general elections in either 2012 or 2014. Almost every county in Arizona reduced the number of polling places. Pima County, the state’s second-largest, reported 62 fewer locations than the 280 it had four year ago. Cochise County, which had 50 polling places for its 12,466 voters in 2012, will have 18 on Nov. 8. In Arizona’s presidential primary, Maricopa County, the state’s largest, had one polling place for every 21,000 voters.

Recent State Election Law Challenges: In Brief

Source: L. Paige Whitaker, Congressional Research Service, CRS report, R44675, November 2, 2016

During the final months and weeks leading up to the November 8, 2016, presidential election, courts across the country have ruled in numerous challenges to state election laws. For example, there have been recent court rulings affecting the laws regulating early voting, voter photo identification (ID) requirements, registration procedures, straight-party voting, and voter rolls. Accordingly, many such laws have been recently invalidated, enjoined, or altered. Others continue to be subject to litigation….

Why the Supreme Court matters for workers

Source: Michele Gilman, The Conversation, October 31, 2016

…..Almost five decades of a conservative Court majority have sharply limited the rights of workers to unionize, form class actions and fight discrimination. The results have been profound and help explain the deterioration of the working class and the rise of economic inequality in recent decades.

The court is now in a 4-4 split between liberal and conservative justices. The Senate’s refusal to confirm President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia means it’s likely the next occupant of the Oval Office will get to pick who fills that seat – and possibly several more. That will determine the kind of court Americans have for years or even decades to come.

Conservative appointments by a President Trump would likely continue the decimation of workplace justice, particularly collective efforts to improve working conditions and pay. As I have documented, a look back at some of the court’s recent rulings shows how…..
Workers, the Courts, and the Election
Source: Andrew Strom, OnLabor blog, November 3, 2016

….When it comes to the courts, the media has a tendency to focus on gun control, abortion rights, and to a lesser extent, LGBTQ rights. While these issues are important to many voters including workers, the media pays far less attention to a set of issues of major relevance to all workers; namely, worker protection laws. And when it comes to worker protection, it matters enormously which party controls judicial appointments. While there are, of course, plenty of cases where judges appointed by Republican Presidents rule in favor of workers, there are also many close (and sometimes not so close) cases where judges make value judgments, and in doing so, they can either view a case from the perspective of a worker or an employer……

The Determinants of State Legislator Support for Restrictive Voter ID Laws

Source: William D. Hicks, Seth C. McKee, Daniel A. Smith, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, vol. 16 no. 4, December 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We examine state legislator behavior on restrictive voter identification (ID) bills from 2005 to 2013. Partisan polarization of state lawmakers on voter ID laws is well known, but we know very little with respect to other determinants driving this political division. A major shortcoming of extant research evaluating the passage of voter ID bills stems from using the state legislature as the unit of analysis. We depart from existing scholarship by using the state legislator as our unit of analysis, and we cover the entirety of the period when restrictive voter ID laws became a frequent agenda item in state legislatures. Beyond the obviously significant effect of party affiliation, we find a notable relationship between the racial composition of a member’s district, region, and electoral competition and the likelihood that a state lawmaker supports a voter ID bill. Democratic lawmakers representing substantial black district populations are more opposed to restrictive voter ID laws, whereas Republican legislators with substantial black district populations are more supportive. We also find Southern lawmakers (particularly Democrats) are more opposed to restrictive voter ID legislation. In particular, we find black legislators in the South are the least supportive of restrictive voter ID bills, which is likely tied to the historical context associated with state laws restricting electoral participation. Finally, in those state legislatures where electoral competition is not intense, polarization over voter ID laws is less stark, which likely reflects the expectation that the reform will have little bearing on the outcome of state legislative contests.