Sen. Wendy Davis: Average Voters are Shut Out of Political Process

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All the hoopla in Texas right now is over state Senator Wendy Davis and her now famous filibuster of the Texas Legislature’s push to end abortions in the state. While the issue of “women’s rights” and “women’s health” is surely and important one, and one that has predominated the headlines, the most fundamental political issue was addressed by Wendy Davis at the end of her interview with Rachel Maddow … and it has nothing to do with abortion.

As Davis points out, the reason why issues like abortion have risen to the contentious political debate and divided the country is that because of election laws like redistricting and partisan primaries that have taken away the power of a meaningful vote from regular people. The laws have been crafted to ensure that whoever wins the Republican primary in a Republican district wins the election, and vice versa.

As a consequence, real elections occur in the primary, where highly partisan, active, and often single-issue focused groups dominate the discussion.

As Wendy Davis put it, “all of the election conversations are taking place at primaries where these issues don’t come to the surface.” She’s right.

While abortion, gay rights, taxes, gun control, and every other hot topic are important, what we really need is electoral reform. Make it so the average voter has a meaningful vote in the electoral process once again, and a better and more robust national dialogue will follow.

Watch the Video Starting at 6:30

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  1. Somaura Jackson Preferential voting Contractual representation. A person who wants a seat in congress would have to have individual contracts with each citizen that wants their representation. A person would have to get enough contracts to procure a seat
  2. Bob Conner I don’t know? There’s a certain amount of logic to the reasoning in stopping abortion in Texas. If they don't, there'll be fewer youngsters texting and driving, thereby giving the politicians nothing to do. It’s easy, clear and simpleton logic. Jeeez; did they replace Dr. Pepper with Koolaid as the state drink in Texas??? The trick here is to read, read, read; not sit in front of the tube to get the information necessary to vote. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but; can we think of anything more important to do? Why, I ask; does TX have Wendy Davis and MA have Elizabeth Warren and all I get is Harry Reid??
  3. Kenneth J. Hicks Open primaries
  4. Vinessa Nevala Get the money out. If the candidates or reps didn't spend so much time pandering or begging for money they could have many more lengthy, BACK-AND-FORTH conversations with citizens.
  5. Marty Keller LOL. California has both open primaries and independent redistricting and now we are a one-party state. Be careful what you ask for.
  6. Richard Winger California does not have an open primary. California has a top-two primary. "Open primary" has been defined in several US Supreme Court decisions (starting in 1972) to mean that parties have nominees and their own primary ballots, but on primary day, any voter is free to choose any party's primary ballot. By contrast, in California, parties no longer have nominees (except for President).
  7. John Piekarski Proportional representation would do away with gerrymandering. And the presidential debates should include the Greens and Libertarians.
  8. Charlotte Dean great accompaniment to reflection on real reasons behind Prop 8 ruling and how issues become obscured in the culture war's hyper-volatility...her filibuster was about highlighting highly partisan redistricting and how it's corrupting our system of intelligent political dialogue, on BOTH sides of the aisle. This is less about abortion and more about unopposed or highly partisan legislation.
  9. Debbie Thomason Run Wendy run for the governors office it is in serious need of some class.
  10. Richard Winger Texas already has open primaries, and has had open primaries ever since 1908. There is no party registration in Texas. There are no registered Democrats or registered Republicans in Texas. Every vote is free on primary day to choose any party's primary ballot.
19 comments
Somaura Jackson
Somaura Jackson

Preferential voting

Contractual representation.

A person who wants a seat in congress would have to have individual contracts with each citizen that wants their representation. A person would have to get enough contracts to procure a seat

Bob Conner
Bob Conner

I don’t know? There’s a certain amount of logic to the reasoning in stopping abortion in Texas. If they don't, there'll be fewer youngsters texting and driving, thereby giving the politicians nothing to do. It’s easy, clear and simpleton logic.

Jeeez; did they replace Dr. Pepper with Koolaid as the state drink in Texas???

The trick here is to read, read, read; not sit in front of the tube to get the information necessary to vote. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but; can we think of anything more important to do?

Why, I ask; does TX have Wendy Davis and MA have Elizabeth Warren and all I get is Harry Reid??

Vinessa Nevala
Vinessa Nevala

Get the money out. If the candidates or reps didn't spend so much time pandering or begging for money they could have many more lengthy, BACK-AND-FORTH conversations with citizens.

Marty Keller
Marty Keller

LOL. California has both open primaries and independent redistricting and now we are a one-party state. Be careful what you ask for.

John Piekarski
John Piekarski

Proportional representation would do away with gerrymandering. And the presidential debates should include the Greens and Libertarians.

Charlotte Dean
Charlotte Dean

great accompaniment to reflection on real reasons behind Prop 8 ruling and how issues become obscured in the culture war's hyper-volatility...her filibuster was about highlighting highly partisan redistricting and how it's corrupting our system of intelligent political dialogue, on BOTH sides of the aisle. This is less about abortion and more about unopposed or highly partisan legislation.

Debbie Thomason
Debbie Thomason

Run Wendy run for the governors office it is in serious need of some class.

Norma Jean Bowman
Norma Jean Bowman

Plus we need to do away with the electoral college votes.

The popular vote is sufficient.

Mark N. Dfw
Mark N. Dfw

Wow something we agree on... @silvio as opposed to thug Labour unions who drop tents on women and kids?

Katt Anderssen
Katt Anderssen

She a nutcase! The bill is to make clinics SAFER! N if u are over 20 weeks preg u r azz should NOT BE GETTING A murdering PROCEDURE! Adoption then ! Stupid Wendy gives blondes with brains a bad rap

Andy
Andy

One problem with that, Senator: Both parties have open primaries. And open delegation selection processes. And platforms written by the delegations.

I doubt Mrs. Davis would be saying this if Texas were a Democratic state like it used to be.

Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier

Even though she qualified it somewhat, her appraisal that both parties have gerrymandered their way to choosing voters was quite bold. Not many reps would be willing to do that.

Zim Ezumah
Zim Ezumah

Issues like this also mislead independent voters into siding with politicians that have underlying initiatives they'd like to push next to their dominant stances on the hot topics. A lot of times, where a politician "stands" on certain issues has more weight than more nuances factors of their platform.

Richard Winger
Richard Winger

California does not have an open primary. California has a top-two primary. "Open primary" has been defined in several US Supreme Court decisions (starting in 1972) to mean that parties have nominees and their own primary ballots, but on primary day, any voter is free to choose any party's primary ballot. By contrast, in California, parties no longer have nominees (except for President).

Richard Winger
Richard Winger

Texas already has open primaries, and has had open primaries ever since 1908. There is no party registration in Texas. There are no registered Democrats or registered Republicans in Texas. Every vote is free on primary day to choose any party's primary ballot.

Shawn M. Griffiths
Shawn M. Griffiths

Both parties have open primaries, but they still control the electoral process and navigate the conversation the way they want. Districts are gerrymandered to be purely Republican or purely Democrat which means the party in control of that district shapes the dialogue. Information tends to get lost when partisans control the dialogue.