7 votes

Weekly US politics news and updates thread - week of April 12

This thread is posted weekly - please try to post all relevant US political content in here, such as news, updates, opinion articles, etc. Extremely significant events may warrant a separate topic, but almost all should be posted in here.

This is an inherently political thread; please try to avoid antagonistic arguments and bickering matches. Comment threads that devolve into unproductive arguments may be removed so that the overall topic is able to continue.

5 comments

  1. Kuromantis
    Link
    The Blue states where voting is difficult to do A year ago, New York overwhelmingly approved a referendum to adopt ranked-choice voting. Now some elected leaders are trying to stop the reform.

    The Blue states where voting is difficult to do

    Biden has assailed Georgia’s new voting law as an atrocity akin to “Jim Crow in the 21st century” for the impact it could have on Black citizens. But even once the GOP-passed measure takes effect, Georgia citizens will still have far more opportunities to vote before Election Day than their counterparts in the president’s home state, where one in three residents is Black or Latino. To Republicans, Biden’s criticism of the Georgia law smacks of hypocrisy. “They have a point,” says Dwayne Bensing, a voting-rights advocate with Delaware’s ACLU affiliate. “The state is playing catch-up in a lot of ways.”

    Delaware isn’t an anomaly among Democratic strongholds, and its example presents the president’s party with an uncomfortable reminder: Although Democrats like to call out Republicans for trying to suppress voting, the states they control in the Northeast make casting a ballot more difficult than anywhere else.

    Connecticut has no early voting at all, and New York’s onerous rules force voters to change their registration months in advance if they want to participate in a party primary. In Rhode Island, Democrats enacted a decade ago the kind of photo-ID law that the party has labeled “racist” when drafted by Republicans; the state also requires voters to get the signatures of not one but two witnesses when casting an absentee ballot (only Alabama and North Carolina are similarly strict). According to a new analysis released this week by the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research, Delaware, Connecticut, and New York rank in the bottom third of states in their access to early and mail-in balloting.

    The restrictions across the Northeast are relics of the urban Democratic machines, which preferred to mobilize their voters precinct by precinct on Election Day rather than give reformers a lengthier window to rally opposition. Democrats who have won election after election in states such as New York, Delaware, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have had little incentive to change the rules that helped them win.

    A year ago, New York overwhelmingly approved a referendum to adopt ranked-choice voting. Now some elected leaders are trying to stop the reform.

    A year ago, New Yorkers approved a referendum to use ranked-choice voting for the municipal elections in 2021. It was not a close vote: Ranked-choice voting won by a nearly three-to-one margin, making the Big Apple by far the nation’s most populous jurisdiction to adopt a system that allows voters to list candidates in order of preference rather than just choose one. New York would join Maine and the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and Minneapolis, among others, in moving to ranked-choice voting. Citizens in Alaska voted last month to approve the format as part of a package of political reforms.

    Just two months before the system’s initial test run, however, a group of Democrats opposed to the format—including the majority leader of the New York City Council and the leaders of its Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus—sued to halt the introduction of ranked-choice voting. They drew backing from a prominent mayoral contender, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, in arguing that a city that struggles to administer elections in the best of times was unprepared to educate voters on a complicated new system in the middle of a pandemic.

    Critics of ranked-choice voting in New York have likened it to political “gentrification.” Without a proper education campaign, they say, the system would essentially disenfranchise lower-income voters of color, and those who do not speak English, because they lack the time and resources to devote as much research on the candidates and the system as other voters.

    The criticism of ranked-choice voting on racial grounds infuriates Lewis and other nonwhite supporters of the system. “It was just insulting to me,” Lewis told me. “You want to say that voters are stupid.”

    “People of color know how to go online,” she added. “People of color know what Google is.”

    Lewis took particular offense at Cumbo’s suggestion that voters made an uninformed choice in 2019, noting that turnout that year was similar to turnout for the Brooklyn election in which Democrats reelected Cumbo two years earlier.

    9 votes
  2. joplin
    Link
    John Boehner on the "noisemakers" of the Republican party - I was curious to see what Boehner had to say because the way he left his post as speaker and some things he said after that indicated...

    John Boehner on the "noisemakers" of the Republican party - I was curious to see what Boehner had to say because the way he left his post as speaker and some things he said after that indicated that he didn't really believe in many of the things he helped push through or block while he was speaker. I always find it interesting when a politician can speak freely once they're no longer trying to get elected.

    It gets off to a bad start as he equates the well-known, very well understood absurdities on the right with some unknown, unnamed wild ideas on the left:

    John Boehner says he couldn't win an election as a Republican these days.

    "I think I'd have a pretty tough time," he says. "I'm a conservative Republican, but I'm not crazy. And, you know, these days crazy gets elected. On the left and the right."

    I'd really like to know who on the left he thinks is as "crazy" as the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene. Or if I'm being charitable, who on the left is anywhere near Greene on the spectrum of "out there" ideas. Remember that this is a representative who literally has called for the assassination of her colleagues and posts about Jews putting lasers in space to start forest fires. I can't think of anyone on the left who is anywhere near that level of unrealistic or unsafe to be around.

    This gets at what we discussed over here. I think there are people on the left who have ideas that aren't realistic and couldn't be implemented or are even not any good, but I also think we're talking about a whole different ballgame than what's going on on the right.

    In any event, he goes on to talk about trying to implement policies he doesn't agree with:

    One of those times came in 2013, when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and other hard-line Republicans forced a government shutdown in a failed attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act.

    "And even though I didn't really want to go the direction where the team's going, they were the ones who elected me to be the leader and I had an obligation to go lead them," Boehner tells NPR. "So that means I had to go jump out in front of them, even if I thought what they were trying to do really made not a whole lot of sense."

    I have a hard time with this. I can understand that you're elected to implement things that your constituents want, and you need to put their interests before your own. And as Speaker of the House, you need to be prepared to bring stuff you don't agree with to the floor. But when your constituents or colleagues are asking you to do something unethical and useless, I don't think you have to listen. Taking affordable health care away from poor people doesn't have a fair flip side. They weren't trying to implement a different plan. They used the excuse of it being a tax nobody voted for (despite things like car insurance being exactly the same). It wasted a bunch of the House's time and meant that other measures that people needed to get through were blocked while they tried, if I recall correctly, 47 times to undo the ACA, unsuccessfully every time. I can understand trying it once or twice. Hell, even 5 times! But by time 6, you're just being an obstructionist asshole, and in my opinion that lies squarely on his shoulders. At some point a leader has to tell their followers, no, it's time to move on. Get on board or get out. They have levers they can pull such as removing people from committees. At some point, you need to do your job rather than sit back and abdicate all responsibility. If they vote you out, so be it. At least you didn't do something stupid and probably unethical.

    And this gets at the problem mentioned in the linked thread. If nobody in the Republican party will stand up to the problems in their own party, then it doesn't really matter if "not all Republicans" believe the conspiracy theories. Their party is willing to try to push their agenda anyway. They're enabling it whether they agree with it or not. Maybe always keeping power isn't in the best interest of democracy? Maybe it's worth not doing that and letting your party lose some votes or fracture.

    8 votes
  3. dubteedub
    Link
    The icing on the cake of the story of Matt Gaetz downfall due to being an alleged drug user and underage sex trafficker is the fact that after Gaetz bent over backwards for Trump during his time...

    The icing on the cake of the story of Matt Gaetz downfall due to being an alleged drug user and underage sex trafficker is the fact that after Gaetz bent over backwards for Trump during his time in office, Trump is not even giving him the courtesy of a meeting.

    4 votes
  4. Omnicrola
    Link
    'Emancipation' Moving Production Out Of Georgia Due To New Voting Laws I'm in favor of this kind of thing, it's putting your money where your mouth is. This likely cost their production a...

    'Emancipation' Moving Production Out Of Georgia Due To New Voting Laws

    "At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access. The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state."

    I'm in favor of this kind of thing, it's putting your money where your mouth is. This likely cost their production a not-insignificant amount of money to move their locations. It is unfortunate that it will likely take many more actions like this (redirection of economic spending away from Georgia) before their legislature starts trying to reverse the trend. By which time the damage to their economy will likely have already impacted the average citizens of the state for years (or decades?).

    4 votes