Source: Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, April 1, 2021
State lawmakers continue to introduce new restrictive voting provisions, and voter suppressive bills have begun to advance and become law.
Source: Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, Dissent, Winter 2021
Invoking the specter of voter fraud to undermine democratic participation is a tactic as old as the United States itself. …. Fair elections require clear regulations and standards, but bureaucratic hurdles inevitably depress participation by disadvantaged groups. And they have often been deliberately constructed—as an appeals court found in 2016—to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” ….
Dozens of states see new voter suppression proposals
Source: Russell Contreras, Stef W. Kight, Axios, February 10, 2021
There are at least 165 proposals under consideration in 33 states so far this year to restrict future voting access by limiting mail-in ballots, implementing new voter ID requirements and slashing registration options.
Source: Sophie Hayssen, Teen Vogue, September 25, 2020
The American Legislative Exchange Commission writes “model legislation” that detractors say “sustains corporate power.”
….ALEC has existed for decades, but spent most of its life in the shadows, cultivating a reputation as a conservative organizational powerhouse. On its website, ALEC describes itself as a “nonpartisan” organization “of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets, and federalism.” Though that description may appear staid at first glance, its detractors argue that ALEC is central to some of the most profound shifts in American politics over the last several decades. Groups like Dream Defenders and the Center for Constitutional Rights, have accused it of resembling a “shadow-state apparatus” and promoting “legislation that sustains corporate power.”
Here’s what you need to know about the controversial organization…..
Source: Mike Spies, Jake Pearson and Jessica Huseman, ProPublica, September 15, 2020
Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, whose work about voting fraud has been discredited, has been conducting private meetings for Republicans only.
Source: Emilia Belknap, Laura Shaw, Meryl Kenny, Political Insight, Volume 11 Issue 2, June 2020
…Why do gender inequalities in political leadership persist? And (why) does it matter? We examine these questions in the context of two recent and pivotal leadership contests: the 2020 UK Labour leadership election and the US Democratic presidential primary. We ask whether these contests represent a case of ‘two steps forward, one step back’ for women, evaluating both the opportunities for, and obstacles to, women’s political leadership. We then evaluate why gender (in)equality at the top matters, assessing the gendered dynamics of political leadership, and evaluating the implications for women’s political participation. We conclude by reflecting on the future prospects for women’s political leadership in troubled times….
Source: William Hatcher, The American Review of Public Administration, Special issue: Double Issue Dedicated to COVID-19, Volume 50 Issue 6-7, August-October 2020
From the abstract:
President Trump’s communications during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic violate principles of public health, such as practicing transparency and deferring to medical experts. Moreover, the president’s communications are dangerous and misleading, and his lack of leadership during the crisis limits the nation’s response to the problem, increases political polarization around public health issues of social distancing, and spreads incorrect information about health-related policies and medical procedures. To correct the dangerous path that the nation is on, the administration needs to adopt a more expert-centered approach to the crisis, and President Trump needs to practice compassion, empathy, and transparency in his communications.
Source: Abby K. Wood, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, USC CLASS Research Papers Series No. CLASS20-10, Date Written: June 10, 2020
From the abstract:
In an age of dark money – the anonymous political spending facilitated by gaps in our campaign finance disclosure laws after Citizens United – the Supreme Court’s campaign finance disclosure jurisprudence may be on a collision course with campaign finance disclosure laws. The collision can be avoided if the court right-sizes its assumptions around the informational benefits of campaign finance disclosure. It is therefore urgent to help the court understand what we learn from campaign finance transparency.
Campaign finance transparency teaches us more than one-dimensional information about how progressive or conservative a candidate is. It also helps us learn about candidate type. As I explain in this Article, social scientists, including myself, have run several studies examining voter learning from campaign finance information. When voters learn about a candidate’s position with regards to dark money, they learn and vote differently than if they did not have that information. And, as I show using experimental methods and using data from the FEC audits in the 1970s, where campaign finance compliance information is available to voters, voters reward over compliance and punish failure to comply. In other words, transparency about campaign finance disclosure and compliance informs voters.
These findings point to useful policy innovations for states and cities while the federal government is unable or unwilling to regulate, such as “disclosure disclaimers” and campaign finance audits. I explain implications for the courts, campaigns, and policymakers, as well as limitations on the argument.
Source: Michael Becher and Daniel Stegmueller, Perspectives on Politics, First View, July 21, 2020
From the abstract:
It has long been recognized that economic inequality may undermine the principle of equal responsiveness that lies at the core of democratic governance. A recent wave of scholarship has highlighted an acute degree of political inequality in contemporary democracies in North America and Europe. In contrast to the view that unequal responsiveness in favor of the affluent is nearly inevitable when income inequality is high, we argue that organized labor can be an effective source of political equality. Focusing on the paradigmatic case of the U.S. House of Representatives, our novel dataset combines income-specific estimates of constituency preferences based on 223,000 survey respondents matched to roll-call votes with a measure of district-level union strength drawn from administrative records. We find that local unions significantly dampen unequal responsiveness to high incomes: a standard deviation increase in union membership increases legislative responsiveness towards the poor by about six to eight percentage points. As a result, in districts with relatively strong unions legislators are about equally responsive to rich and poor Americans. We rule out alternative explanations using flexible controls for policies, institutions, and economic structure, as well as a novel instrumental variable for unionization based on history and geography. We also show that the impact of unions operates via campaign contributions and partisan selection.
Source: Dror Walter, Yotam Ophir, International Journal of Communication, Vol 13, 2019
From the abstract:
Studies have demonstrated an increase in the use of strategy framing in coverage of political campaigns over the years, and during campaign cycles. Despite increases in politicians’ and voters’ use of social media, very little is known about the use of framing in e-campaigns. This study examines Republican presidential candidates’ Twitter activity during the 2016 primaries (more than 22,000 tweets). We find that only two candidates, Donald Trump, and John Kasich, have followed the news media tendency to emphasize strategy over issues. Also, candidates dedicated more than a third of their Twitter activity to updating followers on events and the campaign. Using time-series analysis, we found that the use of framing was dynamic over time, with issue framing increasing around debates and strategy around voting days. This study contributes to our understanding of the use of social media as a complementary and alternative method for direct communication between candidates and their voters.
In 2016, the Top GOP Candidates Used This Twitter Strategy
Source: Bert Gambini, Futurity, October 29, 2019
Among the Republican hopefuls in the 2016 presidential primaries, the last two standing—Donald Trump and John Kasich—employed the same Twitter strategy, research finds.
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.