IVN.us http://ivn.us Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:15:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 OPINION: Make America Great Again… By Looking For Another Candidate http://ivn.us/2015/08/27/opinion-make-america-great-again-by-looking-for-another-candidate/ http://ivn.us/2015/08/27/opinion-make-america-great-again-by-looking-for-another-candidate/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 20:54:15 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295668114 OPINION: Make America Great Again… By Looking For Another Candidate

What exactly has Donald Trump tapped into that has given him juicy front-runner status more than a year out from the 2016 presidential election? My guess is: anger. Directed at a political system perceived as completely out of sync with the American public.

Crystal CanneyIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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OPINION: Make America Great Again… By Looking For Another Candidate

What exactly has Donald Trump tapped into that has given him juicy front-runner status more than a year out from the 2016 presidential election? My guess is: anger. This anger is directed at a political system perceived as completely out of sync with the American public.

Trump is the anti-Jeb Bush and the anti-Hillary Clinton. They’re dynasty politicians who are faring far below expectations in the court of public opinion. Hillary is tied up in the mess of State Department email security and Jeb can’t seem to break free (yet) of a cycle of faux pas (see anchor babies).

"Despite being a party candidate, Trump's words are resonating."Crystal Canney, The Knight Canney Group

No matter how their campaigns progress, both Clinton and Bush (and all the other declared candidates) are dedicated to party ideologies. Trump claims he is not nor does he need large donors. Recently, however, he has learned that grassroots donations can actually build a base of support.

When people are willing to put down a dollar on your campaign – that means they are invested literally and figuratively. It can also mean they have expectations of access.

This is why many Americans have had it with their politicians, and subsequently their government, being owned by big corporations and super PACs. Despite being a party candidate, Trump’s words are resonating.

Voters’ frustration with politics gives him an appeal that has dumbfounded the pundits and many in his own party — a party that Trump says he doesn’t need. Ronald Reagan wanted the Republican Party to be a “big tent.” Donald Trump is doing all he can to kick people out of it. And if he doesn’t get the Republican nod he has indicated he might run as an independent.

So if he runs as an Independent, free of the encumbrances and partisan machinations which have brought much of the gridlock to Congress, should he get a vote simply because he is an Independent? Absolutely not. There is a difference between an independent candidate and an opportunist candidate.

If Donald Trump were a true Independent, he’d be running as one now. If he loses the Republican nomination and runs as an Independent, he won’t be doing it for the good of the people, he’ll be doing it to feed his ego. He’ll be doing it because he can ($$$).

The beauty of the independence movement is to leave behind partisan tricks and treachery to support good ideas regardless of party. Independent doesn’t mean anti-conservative or anti-liberal. It means not partisan. It means thinking and acting for the good of the public, not a party.

This is not to say that Democrats and Republicans can’t do that. But the reality is, most of them don’t. Most of them can’t if they want to win a presidential primary.

"The beauty of the independence movement is to leave behind partisan tricks and treachery to support good ideas regardless of party."Crystal Canney, The Knight Canney Group

For those invested in seeing a free-thinking, unencumbered candidate, Donald Trump isn’t the answer. The rationale can’t be because he “isn’t the other two.” It is up to the American public to say, “Enough!” The nation deserves a leader, not someone who is going to treat the political process like a game show. The presidency is more serious than Deal or No Deal.

Trump’s attack dog mentality has attracted a startling amount of early support, which is disheartening. His behavior is abhorrent. What does he hope to accomplish by calling Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” because her questions were “unfair”?

The comment smacks of hating women even with the best spin. And as to the “unfair questions,” did you say you were running for the presidency of the most powerful nation in the world?

Just this week, Trump kicked a Univision reporter out of a press conference because he didn’t want to answer questions.

There’s a long list of offenses by Trump that kick at the foundations of principles that truly make this country great, not the least of which is his desire to build a wall to keep out the rest of the world.

Ever heard of how this country got started and what makes it truly great? Hint: the people.

Independents have a long road ahead of them. At the presidential level, efforts are underway to have candidates participate in debates earlier. Finding qualified candidates who are willing to put themselves through the political gauntlet, determine how they will fund a campaign, and have the breadth of knowledge that lends itself to the position is difficult — even for the major parties.

It’s doubly difficult for someone with no party “safety net.” However, if the American people join in on the concept in large numbers, it could be equally as freeing.

If Trump’s candidacy shakes some of the electorate free of political apathy then at least that would be something we could count as a positive.

We can take a first step in Making America Great Again by not electing the man with the same slogan – no matter what letter goes after his name.

Crystal CanneyIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Queen Rania: Muslim Nations Not Doing Enough to Prevent Youth Radicalization http://ivn.us/2015/08/27/queen-rania-muslim-nations-not-enough-prevent-youth-radicalizing/ http://ivn.us/2015/08/27/queen-rania-muslim-nations-not-enough-prevent-youth-radicalizing/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 11:00:48 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295668067 Queen Rania: Muslim Nations Not Doing Enough to Prevent Youth Radicalization

Since the rise of the Islamic State, Queen Rania has been the face of the moderate Muslim nations who are trying to fight the radicalization movement, while remaining faithful to their politics and religious beliefs.

David YeeIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Queen Rania: Muslim Nations Not Doing Enough to Prevent Youth Radicalization

Since the rise of the Islamic State, Queen Rania has been the face of the moderate Muslim nations who are trying to fight the radicalization movement, while remaining faithful to their politics and religious beliefs.

Speaking at a major European business gathering in Jouy-en-Josas, France, Queen Rania stated that moderate Muslim nations are not doing enough to keep the younger generation from radicalizing:

Speaking before the business leaders, Queen Rania made frank admissions and encouraged solutions to the radicalization problem:

We are facing a time of great peril. Daesh, or the so-called Islamic State, continues to spread its diabolical ideology. Moderate Muslims the world over are not doing enough to win the ideological struggle at the heart of this battle. We’re not actively helping Daesh, but we’re not actively stopping them either. We can’t stand against them until we as Muslims agree on what we stand for.Queen Rania, August 26, 2015

Daesh is the term used throughout the moderate, Arabic-speaking world as a derogatory term identifying the Islamic State by its Arabic initials.

"To Queen Rania, the greatest threat to the radicalized ideological struggle is the creation of jobs in the moderate Muslim world."Queen Rania
To Queen Rania, the greatest threat to the radicalized ideological struggle is the creation of jobs in the moderate Muslim world, a region of the world that suffers from chronic unemployment/underemployment.

Historically, when large sections of the young adult workforce remain unemployed, it becomes the breeding grounds for discontent and revolution, as radicals capitalize on the economic disenfranchisement of the youth, as well as their inherent idealism.

Sadly, the western powers are much more likely to send billions of dollars worth of bombs, hardware, and military aid, and little to nothing in capital development in the areas.

The answers will have to come from within the Middle East, and some form of works program that both builds up infrastructure and creates long-term jobs is essential — but it will take unprecedented cooperation between nations who have historically distrusted each other.

But, it must be accomplished, as Queen Rania warned:

Failure is not an option because if we fail in the face of these extremists and if they win, the region will quickly be devastated.

David YeeIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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IVN Exclusive Interview: Florida Lawmaker Wants to Take Redistricting out of Partisan Hands http://ivn.us/2015/08/27/ivn-exclusive-interview-florida-lawmaker-wants-take-redistricting-partisan-hands/ http://ivn.us/2015/08/27/ivn-exclusive-interview-florida-lawmaker-wants-take-redistricting-partisan-hands/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 10:30:36 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295667485 IVN Exclusive Interview: Florida Lawmaker Wants to Take Redistricting out of Partisan Hands

In an IVN exclusive interview, Florida State Rep. Evan Jenne argues that an independent redistricting commission will end partisan gerrymandering, increase voter representation, and produce a legislature that functions efficiently.

Andrew GrippIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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IVN Exclusive Interview: Florida Lawmaker Wants to Take Redistricting out of Partisan Hands

“Let the lines fall fair.”

This is the message from Florida state Representative Evan Jenne (D-Dania Beach). During an interview with IVN, Rep. Jenne discussed his proposal to hand the responsibility for drawing the state’s congressional and legislative boundaries over to an independent redistricting commission.

Our conversation came on the heels of a fruitless special session in the Florida legislature. State lawmakers convened in August to redraw the state’s congressional map after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that it violated the state constitution, but when the deadline hit at noon on Friday, August 21, the chambers had not agreed on a common map.

In 2010, Florida voters approved two amendments to tackle gerrymandering in the state. The Fair Districts Amendments – one pertaining to state maps and the other to the congressional map – make it unconstitutional for the legislature to draw boundaries that “favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party.”

In 2014, a county judge determined that two congressional districts needed to be redrawn. Then, in July 2015, the Florida Supreme Court handed down an even harsher ruling, citing evidence that lawmakers had secretly outsourced map-drawing to partisan operatives. It found that eight districts violated the state constitution and ordered the legislature to submit a new, constitutionally compliant map – hence this latest special session.

However, after two weeks, the chambers ended up with two different, irreconcilable maps. Now at an impasse, the legislature is waiting on a ruling from the judiciary regarding how to proceed.

For Jenne, this inability to compromise is a sign that an independent redistricting commission needs to be considered.

“It’s clearly an idea that’s time is coming,” he said, citing the adoption of such commissions in Arizona and California.

“People are…just fed up with their government,” he added. “Why can’t we give them something that makes sense?”

For the second time, Jenne has introduced a bill to create a nine-member independent redistricting commission that would draw the boundaries for the state’s legislative and congressional districts. Like the independent commissions in Arizona and California, most of its members would be Republicans and Democrats, and according to his proposal, none of the members could be elected officials.

Also like the commissions in these states, space would be reserved for those not affiliated with the major parties. Jenne recognizes the importance of independent voters in today’s political environment.

“It’s a large constituency that needs to be heard,” he said. “In this two-party system, very often [independent] voices get drowned out.”

In Jenne’s Broward County, the second-most populous county in the state, independents outnumber Republicans. Those registered as “no party affiliation” (NPA) are on the rise all across Florida.

In Jenne’s proposal, three of the spots on the commission would be reserved for those not affiliated with the two major parties.

“It’s very empowering for NPAs. It finally gives them a real seat at the table at something of the utmost importance in a democracy – how are we going to draw these districts?” – Florida State Rep. Evan Jenne

In addition to mandating diversity on the commission, Jenne has other ideas for how to protect its integrity and insulate it from the kind of clandestine partisan influence that corrupted the 2012 maps.

Jenne plans to plant the commission in Orlando – away from the capitol in Tallahassee and centrally located to make it accessible to the public. He wants citizens to provide input to the commission in public hearings to make the proceedings as open and transparent as possible.

This requirement regarding public hearings removes the ambiguity surrounding Arizona’s independent redistricting commission, which sued the state in an effort to permit it to hold closed meetings.

When asked about whether he thinks the measure would get the support it needs to amend the state constitution, Jenne said that voters’ frustration with the legislature’s dysfunction and partisanship could be decisive.

“Voter distrust is very real on both sides of the aisle…and rightfully so in a lot of instances,” he remarked. “I think anything moving away from outright party control like that is attractive to all of the people I have spoken to.”

Jenne also wants there to be harsh penalties in place for those who subvert the process, something he said has been sorely lacking given the impunity with which operatives “hijacked” the process in preparing the 2012 maps – to use the language of Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis.

When asked about the benefits of an independent redistricting commission, Jenne believes it could produce a “much calmer and much more financially secure [legislature].”

"Voter distrust is very real on both sides of the aisle…and rightfully so in a lot of instances."Florida Rep. Evan Jenne

If implemented, he also believes that the composition of the legislature would more accurately reflect the will of the state’s voters, who voted twice for Barack Obama but whose legislature today is under Republican control in both chambers.

“You’ll see what Florida really is,” he said, “a 50/50 state that has virtually identical representation both in Congress and in our legislature, because that’s who we truly are: we are a toss-up state.”

But when it comes to who gains from the reform, Jenne says that he tries not to let the potential political consequences affect his thinking. Ultimately, he wants to see “a much more realistic map based on the true demographics of the state of Florida” – one that creates “an even playing field.”

Though Jenne tries to remove himself and his party from consideration, he recalled how he was personally affected by the new map drawn in 2012. Jenne was elected in 2006 to represent the state’s 100th district, but in 2012, he suddenly found himself in a new district: the 99th.

“During redistricting, the line literally moved 150 yards…west of my house,” he said.

Given that he would have to introduce himself to a new constituency and face off against fellow Democrats, he decided not to seek office in 2012.

“I had to sit out,” he said.

After a two-year break, Jenne was elected again to the Florida House in 2014. In 2015, he proposed a bill to create an independent redistricting commission, but it died in committee in April. The idea, he said, received little attention from the press at the time.

Now, however, with the redistricting effort stalled in the legislature, Jenne’s idea is starting to catch on.

Jenne is not aware of any polling information regarding the popularity of this reform, but he said he has received positive feedback all across the state.

“It’s anecdotal sampling,” he added. “Randomly asking a bartender, randomly asking a waitress…randomly asking just people not at all involved in politics…they all think it’s great.”

However, Jenne said he has been told his new bill, HB 21, will not get a hearing.

“I know it’s a dead duck in the Florida House,” he said. “I knew it would never be heard as a bill in either chamber.”

There is another path to adopt an independent redistricting commission: the ballot initiative process – the same process by which the Fair Districts Amendments were added to the state constitution in 2010.

Jenne recognizes that this will be a long and arduous process, involving the collection of hundreds of thousands of signatures. When asked about a timeline, Jenne said he hopes to have it on the ballot during a presidential election year, when voter turnout is highest.

While not ruling out having it placed on the 2016 ballot, Jenne hopes to see the measure placed on the 2020 ballot – in time for the next redistricting process that will be completed in 2022.

Though 2020 is a long way away, Jenne is eager to share and discuss his idea – and even to receive input from the public.

“If any of your readers or anyone has a good idea” for how to strengthen the independent redistricting commission,” he said, “tell them to give me a call.”

In the meantime, he says he is “just happy being able to be a spokesperson for a concept…a nonpartisan, independent concept,” adding, “there is a better way to do this.”

Photo Credit: EvanJenne.com

Andrew GrippIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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The Net Tax Gap: You Won’t Believe How Much Tax Cheats Steal http://ivn.us/2015/08/27/net-tax-gap-wont-believe-much-tax-cheats-steal/ http://ivn.us/2015/08/27/net-tax-gap-wont-believe-much-tax-cheats-steal/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 10:00:26 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295668060 The Net Tax Gap: You Won’t Believe How Much Tax Cheats Steal

The net tax gap is an issue that illustrates how this approach to politics sheds light on how subjective and objective politics can see the same issue. It is arguably one of the most important political issues that most Americans do not understand or know anything about.

Dissident PoliticsIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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The Net Tax Gap: You Won’t Believe How Much Tax Cheats Steal

To understand American politics at the federal level, it is helpful to consider most issues from four points of view. Despite some simplification, a four-point analysis usually leads to a more nuanced and accurate understanding of issues compared to the usually misleading, self-serving black and white picture the two-party system (TPS) routinely conveys to the public.

"To understand American politics at the federal level, it is helpful to consider most issues from four points of view."Dissident Politics
The four points of view are liberal, conservative, TPS, and objective.

The first three points of view are largely subjective, meaning that issues are framed by liberal, conservative, or TPS political ideology, values, or morals. To a large extent, those subjective ideological differences dictate three different sets of facts or reality and different common sense or logic that leads to different policy choices.

As described before, the objective point of view relies on the political ideology or values of (i) unspun fact and (ii) ideologically unbiased logic that is (iii) framed by the concept of service to an objectively defined public interest, which is based in part on balancing competing interest demands or needs (e.g., as previously described).

The net tax gap is an issue that illustrates how this approach to politics sheds light on how subjective and objective politics can see the same issue. It is arguably one of the most important political issues that most Americans do not understand or know anything about.

The Net Tax Gap: Congress’ Gift to Tax Cheats – They Steal How Much?!?!

The net tax gap is not a complicated concept. It is simple. The net tax gap is the total amount of tax that individuals and businesses owe but do not pay to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Failure to pay taxes is tax fraud or tax evasion and, for willful non-payment, it can be a felony.

IRS data shows that the 2001 net tax gap was $290 billion and $385 billion for 2006, an increase of $19 billion/year. At that rate of increase, the 2015 net tax gap would be $556 billion. For the sake of argument, the 2015 net tax gap is assumed to be somewhere between $450 billion and $650 billion.

In response to a formal Dissident Politics request to the IRS to calculate net tax gap data for a more recent year (e.g., 2010 or 2011), the IRS indicated no interest in doing that. The likely reason for that reluctance is explained below in the TPS point of view.

One estimate is that for each additional $1 the IRS spends to chase tax cheats and recover some or all of what is owed, the U.S. Treasury would recover at least $6. Despite this massive annual theft from the American people, Congress has decreased the IRS budget by about 10% since 2010 and IRS enforcement performance and staffing levels have declined.

One observer calls the situation “Congress’ gift to tax cheats.”

The office of the National Taxpayer Advocate has been desperately pointing this out to Congress for years and for years, Congress has utterly ignored the warnings. The budget situation at the IRS is so dire that when taxpayers call for help with their taxes, the phones often aren’t answered.

The situation is therefore obviously and undeniably bipartisan. Congresses under both parties are fully complicit.

The Liberal Point of View

Despite some personal discomfort in contemplating an IRS with a bigger budget and tax law enforcement staff, it is likely that many liberals, say about 70%, would favor increasing the IRS budget to reduce the annual level of theft. This accords with liberal ideology or values that tend to accept and/or favor federal government activity, including federal agency budgets and staffing.

Given the concurrence between liberal ideology and what IRS tax gap data shows, most liberals probably would not question the accuracy of the tax gap data.

The Conservative Point of View

Based on the author’s direct personal experience with this issue, it is likely that many conservatives, say about 70%, would oppose any increase in the IRS budget to reduce the annual level of theft. This accords with (i) conservative (and libertarian) anti-government ideology and (ii) the rational belief that whatever is recovered would be wasted by Congress based on its track record of decades of profligacy.

This also accords with the conservative perception of reality that the IRS illegally targeted conservative political groups to prevent them from getting tax-exempt status and the IRS cannot be trusted and therefore its data is probably suspect and a smoke screen to grab even more unconstitutional power than it already has.

Many or most hardcore conservatives and essentially all libertarians already believe (or know) that (i) most of what the federal government does is unconstitutional and (ii) taxes are far too high.

With that mental framework, increasing the IRS budget is out of the question, regardless of any alleged economic or other upsides. In this case, a conservative’s professed value of respect for the rule of law is trumped by the more important conservative value of disagreement with and distrust of the federal government and most of its activities.

The Objective Point of View

From an objective public service-oriented point of view, the situation clearly calls for a fix. There is no reason to allow theft that could easily be in the neighborhood of half a trillion dollars per year. What the fix could be is wide open.

"Objectivism is concerned with what best serves the public interest based on unspun facts and unbiased logic. "
Since objectivity is not constrained by any fundamental pro- or anti-government ideology or value, a solution could include (i) increasing IRS personnel for law enforcement, (ii) outsourcing some or all collection activity to the private sector, which may be more cost-effective than having federal employees do the task, (iii) a tax code overhaul to make fraud and evasion more difficult (e.g., replacing income taxes with a VAT, national sales tax or something similar that makes cheating harder), and/or (iv) reducing tax rates and/or increasing fraud and evasion penalties to broaden the tax base and reduce incentives to cheat, without significantly reducing revenues.

Objective politics is not concerned with whether the best policy choice just happens to be liberal, conservative, or in accord with any other subjective moral or ideological framework or the “facts” and “common sense” that flows naturally but unconsciously therefrom.

Objectivism is concerned with what best serves the public interest based on unspun facts and unbiased logic.

Direct competition tends to sharpen the mind and quicken the pace, a basic tenet of capitalism. Objectively speaking, direct public vs. private sector competition serves the public interest by making pro- and anti-government ideologies and their partisans put up or shut up.

The Winner By Far: The TPS Point of View

The tax gap situation is what it is because it is fully in accord with the TPS point of view, its morals and its perceived self-interested needs. From the TPS point of view, what liberals, conservatives, and objectivists think is mostly irrelevant except to the extent that their beliefs and policy choices overlap with TPS’s needs.

For this political issue, conservatives are significantly aligned with TPS needs and thus presumably prefer accepting the theft over doing something about it, which accords with current TPS policy.

Data from Princeton University shows that the TPS, which includes the economic elites that fund it, is far more important in determining policy than public opinion:

“In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover … even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”

From an objective point of view, the tax gap situation is completely irrational unless one considers it to be part of how the TPS sees its own needs. It is reasonable to believe that there is a powerful motivator behind the TPS wanting an IRS that is crippled in its ability to wring revenue out of tax cheats. If those tax cheats are among the economic elites that largely control federal policy, it is painfully clear that those people and business entities do not want the IRS looking at their taxes.

The best way to ensure such safety from scrutiny is to have Congress cripple the IRS. If that isn’t the reason for massive annual tax gaps, what is?

Since 2001, Americans have been cheated out of about $4.56 trillion. What explanation can there be for the refusal of the TPS to solve a known but easily-solvable problem? Given the size of the problem, why won’t the IRS formally calculate tax gap data for later years?

It is not unusual for the TPS to have little or nothing to say about certain political issues. America’s tax gap situation probably is the best example there is of how powerful silence can be in defense of an inept, corrupt status quo. Threats from the TPS would explain IRS reluctance to calculate more recent tax gap data.

Given how corrupt and incompetent the tax gap situation makes the TPS look from the liberal and objective points of view, it is no surprise that the tax gap isn’t on anyone’s radar as a major issue in politics. The best way to deal with failure is to ignore it and say nothing.

Silence and suppression of unbiased data generation (e.g., gun violence research) has been a successful TPS strategy for decades. This issue isn’t the only one where the TPS’s silent treatment and attacks on unspun facts have worked brilliantly in defense of America’s failed, corrupt two-party status quo.

Photo Source: AP

Dissident PoliticsIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Is Rand Paul Losing the Ron Paul Revolution? http://ivn.us/2015/08/27/rand-paul-losing-ron-paul-revolution/ http://ivn.us/2015/08/27/rand-paul-losing-ron-paul-revolution/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 09:30:14 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295668078 Is Rand Paul Losing the Ron Paul Revolution?

For those of us once hopeful that Rand Paul would crack through the Republican orthodoxy of partisan politics, our takeaway today is that our time is better spent working on more fundamental issues like nonpartisan voting rights, because true reform requires systemic change.

Chad PeaceIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Is Rand Paul Losing the Ron Paul Revolution?

At one point, Rand Paul was well positioned to be the “candidate of a new generation.” His foreign policy and civil rights positions, for example, could unite constituencies otherwise driven apart by opportunistic partisan political operations. Instead, he appears to be hedging his positions to gain approval from Republican base voters and pandering to ideological purists.

What politicos have misunderstood—and apparently Paul has, too—is that the young voters who were attracted to the policies of his father, Ron Paul, had their support rooted in a confidence that Ron Paul said what he truly believed.

Ron Paul was himself. Authentic. And what he had to say was guided by his own perception of importance—not what the polls or the media told him was important.

Did this authenticity win Ron Paul a presidential election? No.

But it did lead directly to Rand Paul’s election to the United States Senate.

Rand Paul, however, has lost the mantle of authenticity so critical to his father’s appeal.

 

How Rand Paul Is Different From Ron Paul

 

Why write about Rand Paul?

For those of us who conducted the Draft Rand Paul for Senate campaign in 2010, Rand’s unraveling is both a disappointment and an important life lesson.

Those of us who came together to start that campaign had many different viewpoints and ideologies. What we had in common was a deep concern for civil rights and a fear that the power of government, and the big businesses that are in bed with it, were crushing freedom and opportunity.

In short, we shared an outlook more than we shared a philosophical ideology. And we were not drawn to Ron Paul because we believed that a particular political philosophy would save our country.

Rather, we were concerned about the future and were drawn to the “Ron Paul Revolution” because he appeared to be the only national candidate that spoke candidly, intellectually, and directly about the realities we faced in America.

Sure, other politicians had something to say. But what they said was framed to fit within the shallow, two-sided debate that surrounds the national discourse. What all other candidates said seemed preprogrammed by pollsters and political consultants to win the debate set by the two-sided national narrative.

I will never know whether Rand Paul really understood the diversity of the young people who drove the “revolution” that culminated in his election to the U.S. Senate. But from filibustering our mass surveillance programs to leading the charge for criminal justice reforms, the beginning of his career as a senator seemed to imply that he did. Even in the early stages of Rand Paul’s presidential campaign, he spent time speaking to, and about, constituencies that Republicans have long ignored.

But as the pressure has mounted and other candidates have flexed their “I’m the most Republican” credentials, Rand Paul’s rhetoric appears to be directed at the same old crowded gutter already occupied by fellow Republicans pandering to a narrow base.

It’s hard to put a finger on what happened between the Ron Paul revolution that was and the Rand Paul Republican presidential candidate that is.

We’ve all heard the expression, “it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.”

So when Sen. Paul says things like, “the tea party erupted over dissatisfaction with false conservatives,” he revealed more than his perspective (how the tea party started) but he also reveals who his audience is—the people who don’t believe the Republican Party is conservative enough.

In 2009, when I stopped identifying myself as a tea partier, I wrote:

Slowly, I’ve lost some of my unrealistic idealism. As I pull back the blinders, I try to look at the tea party from the eyes of an outsider, the average American. What I see is a bunch of people reciting partisan political sermons, coddling fears and perpetuating a superficial battle between ‘left’ and ‘right’; drowning the well-intentioned idealists that remain.

The more Rand Paul’s campaign continues, I can’t help but feel like he is perpetuating a left-versus-right narrative that we should all reject. Sure, he brings his own ideological narrative to the Republican primary, but that’s not the point.

When you start reframing what you say to pander to a small segment of voters, you lose your authenticity. And when there are 15 other candidates vying for that same partisan base, you do things like take a chainsaw to the tax code to try and get attention. Or act like defunding Planned Parenthood should be at the top of the president’s priority list.

For those of us once hopeful that Rand Paul would crack through the Republican orthodoxy of partisan politics, our takeaway today is that our time is better spent working on more fundamental issues like nonpartisan voting rights, because true reform requires systemic change.”

Today, we have an election system that says Republican and Democratic Party voters are more important than everyone else. That’s why the presidential candidates pander to them.

"When you start reframing what you say to pander to a small segment of voters, you lose your authenticity."

As a self-described champion of individual liberty, Rand Paul should be the first person to recognize that government is about representing individual people, and not the Republican Party.

Interestingly, Rand Paul is in a tough position today because Kentucky law does not allow a person to run for President and Senate at the same time. So, in the interest of his personal pursuit, he has pushed for Kentucky to move from a binding primary to a non-binding caucus system, to circumvent the rules. In doing so, he is advocating for a voting process that transfers power from individual voters to activists within a political party.

He’s also said, “We think there is going to be a constitutional argument that the states all have to have the same rules for a federal election.” Constitutionally, states have wide latitude under Article II to design the manner in which elections are conducted. So, coming from a guy who has championed individual rights, state rights, and is a self-described champion of the constitution, his actions seem more than self-serving, but self-defeating.

As I concluded in my 2009 article:

“As the battle rages, I have more faith than ever that an independent revolution will come. When the absurdity of our political process rises to the point where tea bags become a right-wing rally cry and the left still manages to drop in the polls, there is a growing opportunity for the increasingly disenchanted to drive a stake right down the middle.”

Rand Paul was on the crest of a wave he either did not understand or did not have the courage to ride.

As a result, the increasingly disenchanted are likely to look elsewhere.

This article originally published on the San Diego City Beat on August 26, 2015, and has been modified slightly for publication on IVN.

Photo Credit: Capital Factory

Chad PeaceIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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VIDEO: Congress Shouldn’t Get Recess Until It Finishes Its Homework http://ivn.us/2015/08/26/congress-shouldnt-get-recess-finishes-homework/ http://ivn.us/2015/08/26/congress-shouldnt-get-recess-finishes-homework/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 16:52:25 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295668039 VIDEO: Congress Shouldn’t Get Recess Until It Finishes Its Homework

Congress is in “recess”… a term that seems somewhat apropos since our legislators have acted so childishly in recent years. You can almost see them on the playground arguing over whose turn it is to pick first even though you already know who’s going to end up on both teams.

T.J. O'HaraIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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VIDEO: Congress Shouldn’t Get Recess Until It Finishes Its Homework

Congress is in “recess”… a term that seems somewhat apropos since our legislators have acted so childishly in recent years. You can almost see them on the playground arguing over whose turn it is to pick first even though you already know who’s going to end up on both teams.

This is not to say that senators and representatives don’t deserve a break. They do — just as our president should be allowed to play an occasional round of golf. However, even school children are expected to complete their assignments before they’re given the privilege of enjoying recess. Yet, we don’t hold our elected officials to the same standard.

Congress recessed on July 31, and it won’t be back in session until September 9. The reason this is significant is because there are a few minor issues that remain to be resolved… like debating the nuclear deal with Iran… or how about approving a federal budget?

The nuclear deal with Iran represents one of two things. It’s either a brilliant plan to alter Iran’s most recent geo-political behavior, or it’s a potential flash point for a Middle East Armageddon. One would think that the issue is relevant enough to merit a change in the congressional calendar. Then again, that requires the assumption that Congress is still capable of demonstrating adult behavior.

"Rather than working toward a rational budgetary solution, Republicans and Democrats will spend time behind the scenes exploring how to place the blame on the other party."T.J. O'Hara, IVN Principal Political Analyst
Correspondingly, wouldn’t it be nice if our nation had a budget in place? Remember the shutdown in 2013? Well, there’s another one just around the corner. You may want to pay particular attention to the fact that these fiscal crises seem to occur just prior to an election year.

Rather than working toward a rational budgetary solution, Republicans and Democrats will spend time behind the scenes exploring how to place the blame on the other party in an effort turn their mutually irresponsible behavior into a political advantage.

We may see a reprise of the president having to make “tough decisions” such as which national parks and veterans’ memorials to close. Of course, the script almost writes itself. The administration is likely to make cuts that will inflict the highest level of pain on you and me without truly threatening our daily lives because that offers the greatest political potential.

Naturally, the cornerstone of budgetary recklessness, the Continuing Resolution or CR, may be invoked to save the day. This is the congressional equivalent of a note from home that asks us to please excuse our elected officials’ intellectual absence. In effect, it’s a slightly more plausible alibi than saying the dog ate their budget.

Do you remember December 18, 2013? That’s the last time Congress passed a full budget. Before that, it had limped along with nothing more than CRs since 1997. That’s right: Sixteen years had passed since Congress last honored its mandated responsibility to pass a budget. Sixteen years! That’s a lot of missed homework assignments.

Still, if history serves as any indication, we’ll return 90 percent of our federal officials to office who are up for re-election in 2016. As the saying goes, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

I, for one, hope we’ll learn. Then again, missing a budget and forcing a shutdown seems rather insignificant when compared to a decision that might best be characterized by a mushroom-shaped cloud. Think about it.

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired on The Daily Ledger on the One America News Network on August 14, 2015.


Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Should Congress be in recess when critical, time-sensitive decisions are pending?
  2. Should Congress be permitted to ignore its mandate to pass a budget?
  3. Should Continuing Resolutions be limited in time and number to preclude their perpetual use?
  4. Should elected officials be routinely returned to office or should they be held accountable for their actions (or inaction)?

Photo Credit: mj007 / shutterstock.com

T.J. O'HaraIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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http://ivn.us/2015/08/26/congress-shouldnt-get-recess-finishes-homework/feed/ 0 VIDEO: Congress Shouldn't Get Recess Until It Finishes Its Homework - IVN.us Congress is in recess, an appropriate term since our legislators have acted so childishly. Yet, our lawmakers are on a deadline to resolve some key issues. congress,government shutdown,Iran,partisanship,congress shouldn't get recess FILE - This March 22, 2013 file photo shows the exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington. Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington scrutinized the very first application from a tea party group seeking tax-exempt status _ and dozens of others, including some requests that languished for more than a year without action, an IRS official has told congressional investigators. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) SNAP fl-capitol-building us-capitol
Evidence Continues to Mount in Kansas Ballot Tampering Case — And The State Won’t Do Anything http://ivn.us/2015/08/26/evidence-continues-mount-kansas-ballot-tampering-case-state-wont-anything/ http://ivn.us/2015/08/26/evidence-continues-mount-kansas-ballot-tampering-case-state-wont-anything/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 13:26:10 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295668020 Evidence Continues to Mount in Kansas Ballot Tampering Case — And The State Won’t Do Anything

At issue is the fact that there are numerous circumstantial issues that allude to voter machine tampering, including a statistical analysis done by Dr. Clarkson that goes against most common knowledge of how elections work.

David YeeIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Evidence Continues to Mount in Kansas Ballot Tampering Case — And The State Won’t Do Anything

KANSAS — If one single axiom of the American justice system is correct, the wheels of justice turn very, very slowly.

"We already have a smoking gun, now we need to do some forensic analysis to see what it all means."Dr. Beth Clarkson, statistician and engineer at Wichita State University
Dr. Beth Clarkson, the statistician and engineer at Wichita State University who is challenging the state in court for a full audit of the votes in the 2014 election, updated her newsletter on August 23, yet more interesting news continues to develop as Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach finally defends his stance.

At issue is the fact that there are numerous circumstantial issues that allude to voter machine tampering, including a statistical analysis done by Dr. Clarkson that goes against most common knowledge of how elections work.

As Dr. Clarkson says, “We already have a smoking gun, now we need to do some forensic analysis to see what it all means.”

Kobach, in a faxed statement to the courts on August 21, stated that the voting records are not under the Kansas open records laws and that he is not the custodian of the records, instead each local county official is responsible for them.

In Sedgwick County, one of the most populous counties in Kansas, Tabitha Lehman told the courts that it would be “unnecessarily burdensome” to copy the records, as each voting record takes up about 27 inches of tape on continuous roles.

This seems to becoming a circular argument:

  • We have backups in case there are any unforeseen problems; but
  • Those backups are totally off-limits to all except a very few powerful individuals who are often motivated by political gain themselves; all while
  • Hiding behind the fact that it would be too hard to actually audit the election even when unforeseen problems happened — the paper trail is too big.

At what point would an unforeseen issue become large enough that they’d break open the records?

This is not check-and-balance government or transparency. You actually have to be able to use the tools at your disposal to be able to claim such a lofty status.

This would not be nearly as hypocritical if it weren’t for the fact that Kris Kobach was recently granted prosecutorial power to seek out and prosecute voter fraud cases, which so far haven’t amounted to too much more than Alzheimer patients double voting.

Kobach is more interested in 100 alleged cases of voter fraud, as opposed to possibly thousands of cases that this lawsuit might reveal.

So while we wait, the precise paper backups sit in 42 boxes, stored on 385 foot-long paper rolls, waiting for the day when dust can be blown off them and a full audit can be completed.

David YeeIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Ill. Party Establishment Uses Deceptive Tactic to Squash Nonpartisan Redistricting Reform http://ivn.us/2015/08/26/ill-party-establishment-uses-deceptive-tactic-oppose-nonpartisan-redistricting-reform/ http://ivn.us/2015/08/26/ill-party-establishment-uses-deceptive-tactic-oppose-nonpartisan-redistricting-reform/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:10:03 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295667979 Ill. Party Establishment Uses Deceptive Tactic to Squash Nonpartisan Redistricting Reform

The argument for the Independent Map Amendment is conditioned upon making sure all elections are competitive, but, more importantly, that the districts are not drawn for strictly partisan purposes. A nonpartisan redistricting process ensures that districts are drawn to enhance voter choice and overall democratic accountability.

Caitlin HurkesIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Ill. Party Establishment Uses Deceptive Tactic to Squash Nonpartisan Redistricting Reform

Update: This article has been updated to include the Independent Map Amendment’s response to the People’s Map mailer.

 

ILLINOIS – People’s Map, a group formed by partisan-dominated interests, is opposing redistricting reform backed by the Independent Map Amendment to implement independent redistricting in Illinois. The reform, resurrected by the Independent Map movement, would place the power of redrawing state House and Senate districts into the hands of an independent commission.

People’s Map, skillfully named, is arguing against the resurrection of the redistricting amendment because the group says it will hurt minorities within Illinois.

“We believe the results of allowing an independent commission to draw the map will be anything but fair to minorities, and will prevent minorities from electing the candidates of their choice,” People’s Map wrote in a mailer to Independent Map Amendment supporters.

The members of People’s Map, including union leader Karen Lewis, also wrote they would “take note of who assists in the destruction of the middle class and minorities” in the state.

Interestingly, the Independent Map Amendment was created to follow voting-rights requirements, specifically to protect the demographic and geographic diversity of the state. The Independent Map Amendment argues:

Democracy and government work best when legislators are representative of and accountable to the people who elect them. The system in Illinois is not working. Instead of putting the people’s interests first, state legislative district boundaries are drawn intentionally to preserve and to strengthen the power of those already in power.

In an August 24th response to the People’s Map mailer, the Independent Map Amendment stated:

We write to set the record straight. Independent Maps in an independent, diverse and nonpartisan effort. Members of both parties, as well as independents, support this amendment. The Independent Maps Board of Directors is diverse […] and its members would not be involved in a proposal that would hurt minority communities. In fact, it’s the People’s Map group that is clinging to the status quo.

In 2014, the amendment was deemed unconstitutional by Cook County Judge Mary Mikva and failed to make it on the November ballot. Judge Mikva reasoned the amendment unconstitutional because it barred members serving on the independent commission from public office for ten years.

The revised independent redistricting commission would consist of 11 nonpartisan members and be open to the public. If passed, the amendment would improve election competitiveness and voter choice.

There was also an issue in the 2014 campaign with the credibility of the 500,000 signatures gathered. This time, the nonpartisan effort has hired a firm to collect and validate the 600,000 signatures they plan to obtain.

"I think we can all agree that there is an inherent conflict of interest when legislators draw the districts that they will run in."Christie Hefner, Center for American Progress

“I think we can all agree that there is an inherent conflict of interest when legislators draw the districts that they will run in,” Christie Hefner, direct of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and a member of the Independent Maps board, explained.

Currently, legislators redraw the districts after every U.S. Census. The Illinois House and Senate must approve the changes and send it to the governor to sign or veto. If the assembly and governor’s office are held by the same party, then it is easy for legislators to redraw districts along partisan lines.

In 2012, out of 177 seats in the Illinois General Assembly, 101 were uncontested, only 16 were competitive, and only 7 incumbents lost their seats, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The argument for the Independent Map Amendment is conditioned upon making sure all elections are competitive, but, more importantly, that the districts are not drawn for strictly partisan purposes. A nonpartisan redistricting process ensures that districts are drawn to enhance voter choice and overall democratic accountability.

Photo Credit: The World Trade Council

Caitlin HurkesIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Do Multi-Member Districts Improve Representation in State Legislatures? http://ivn.us/2015/08/26/multi-member-districts-improve-representation-state-legislatures/ http://ivn.us/2015/08/26/multi-member-districts-improve-representation-state-legislatures/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:00:42 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295667897 Do Multi-Member Districts Improve Representation in State Legislatures?

According to FairVote, at one time, more than half of all state legislators were elected from multi-member districts (MMD). Fifty years ago, more than two-thirds of states had at least some multi-member districts.

Andrew GrippIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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Do Multi-Member Districts Improve Representation in State Legislatures?

While Congress has twice mandated the use of single-member districts (SMD) for electing members of Congress (once in 1842 and again in 1967), state legislatures are at liberty to determine how their representatives will be elected.

According to FairVote, at one time, more than half of all state legislators were elected from multi-member districts (MMD). Fifty years ago, more than two-thirds of states had at least some multi-member districts.

Today, that number has dropped to just ten: Vermont and West Virginia use MMD for both houses in their state legislatures, while Arizona, Idaho, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington state use MMD in their lower houses only.

Writing for Stateline in 2011, Josh Goodman noted that the Voting Rights Act (VRA) was a major reason for the substitution of multi-member districts with single-member districts. Since MMD systems tend to require larger districts, Goodman observed, they “make it harder to create constituencies where minority groups are concentrated enough to elect candidates of their choice.”

Indeed, in 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Thornburg v. Gingles that North Carolina’s MMD legislative lines were discriminatory toward blacks, and to avoid VRA lawsuits, states started to move toward SMD systems.

As of August 2015, according to Ballotpedia, 1,082 of the country’s 7,383 state legislators were elected from multi-member districts – just 14.7%.

Yet given the level of mistrust that Americans have for public institutions today, it is worth examining whether multi-member districts live up to one of their primary promises – that is, to allow voters to send multiple representatives from their district to the state capitol and to have that multi-member delegation reflect the diversity of the district in a way that is impossible with just a single representative.

First, it is important to differentiate the way states today implement MMD from how many countries use proportional representation (PR).

In today’s state legislatures, voters in most cases vote for candidates equal to the size of the district’s magnitude (that is, how many lawmakers represent it) – a method of voting called “bloc” voting.

In some states, the magnitude is fixed and equal across all districts. In New Jersey, for instance, when selecting representatives to the General Assembly, voters pick two candidates to represent their district, and the top two vote-getters in each district win.

In other states, the magnitude depends on the size of the district. In New Hampshire, for instance, districts for the state House of Representatives have a magnitude between 1 and 11. In Hillsborough-37, the state’s largest district, voters in the general election choose 11 different candidates.

In many PR systems, on the other hand, voters select not individual candidates but instead vote for political parties, and then party members fill seats in proportion to each party’s electoral performance. For instance, in theory, a party that wins 35 percent of the vote will claim 35 percent of the seats in the legislature.

So, with this information, we can now ask, how well does the MMD system work in these 10 states? How well do representatives from such districts reflect the diversity of their constituents?

"In many PR systems ... voters select not individual candidates but instead vote for political parties."Andrew Gripp, IVN Independent Author
Based on my research, there are 471 multi-member districts in these ten states. Among these districts, 89 of them have representatives from more than one party. This works out to 18.9 percent. (In my tabulation, I discounted a district in which all representatives are of the same party, yet at least one of these representatives is also the nominee of a minor party – such as if Representative A were a Democrat, and Representative B were a Democrat who also ran on the Work Families Party line).

However, this figure is not entirely accurate for our purposes. In West Virginia’s state Senate, for instance, the two senators in each district are elected on a “staggered” basis, such that one senator is elected in one cycle and the second senator is elected in another cycle.

In other cases, such as Idaho’s state House, representatives from each two-member district are elected to separate “posts” – such as 1A and 1B – and thus they also never square off competitively.

When these non-competitive elections within multi-member districts are removed, the number changes slightly: in the remaining 368 multi-member districts in which representatives are elected concurrently, 77 are served by members of more than one party – amounting to 20.9 percent.

One example of such a district is District 51 for West Virginia’s House of Delegates: with five members, it is the state’s largest district by magnitude.

There, in 2014, voters ousted two Democratic incumbents and replaced them with two new Republicans — they also re-elected two Republican incumbents. However, instead of electing Republican candidate Bill Flanigan in a straight-ticket fashion, they re-elected Democratic incumbent Barbara Evans Fleischauer. The district is thus represented by four Republicans and one Democrat.

Ten of the 20 multi-member districts in West Virginia’s lower house are represented by more than one party.

Another district with multi-party representation is Chittenden, the largest senate district in Vermont with a magnitude of six. In 2014, voters from this largely “liberal” district sent a diverse delegation to the capitol that included three Democrats, two Democrats who also appeared on the Vermont Progressive Party line, and one Republican, Diane Snelling.

With over 21,000 votes, Snelling defeated Democratic candidate Dawn Ellis by more than 3,000 votes – a sign that Chittenden voters are also not knee-jerk, straight-ticket partisan voters.

Nevertheless, just three of the 10 multi-member districts in Vermont’s upper chamber are represented by members of more than one party. The multi-member districts of Addison, Bennington, Essex-Orleans, Windham, and Windsor are represented exclusively by Democrats, and the multi-member districts of Franklin and Rutland are represented exclusively by Republicans.

It is this kind of outcome that caused Steve Hingtgen, a member of Vermont’s Legislative Apportionment Board, to fret in 2011 that, “Larger districts in Vermont are a way for majorities to prevent regional minorities from winning seats.”

Nowhere is this regional party-dominance more apparent than in Hillsborough-37, the 11-member district in New Hampshire. This district is currently represented by 11 Republicans, despite the Democratic candidates receiving 28.5 percent of the vote in 2014.

Of the 99 multi-member districts for New Hampshire’s lower house, 74 are controlled by a single party.

According to FairVote, the problem with bloc voting – in which voters cast ballots equal to the district’s magnitude – is that it is, like voting in a single-member district, essentially a winner-take-all system. As seen in the case of Hillsborough-37, a political majority can keep a political minority off the ballot if they vote as, well, a bloc.

FairVote suggests combining multi-member districts with other measures, such as ranked choice voting, to prevent such monopolistic outcomes. To produce a more representative system, it proposes a candidate-centric model that it calls “fair representation voting.”

Nevertheless, one way in which the MMD system, even in its current form, has improved representation is in terms of allowing women to get elected to office.

In January 2014, women comprised 31 of the chambers that used multi-member districts, whereas women comprised 22.8 percent of the chambers using single-member districts.

In some cases, the presence of women on the ballot can cause voters to buck their partisan voting habits. In New Hampshire in 2012, for instance, voters in Rockingham-6, a 10-seat district that leans heavily Republican, elected two Democratic women – Elizabeth Burtis and Mary Till – over two Republican men to round out an otherwise all-Republican delegation.

Researchers Jennifer Hayes Clark and Veronica Caro, studying the use of multi-member districts in Arizona’s lower house, found that bloc voting benefits women because it incentivizes them to distinguish themselves from other candidates on a crowded ballot and even to create intra-party competition. They also found that, once elected, women speak to and legislate on behalf of women’s issues that otherwise might be neglected, often crossing the aisle to do so:

…when we examine legislators’ propensity to cosponsor together based on demographic and partisan variables, we see a strong relationship emerge among female legislators, in which women are much more likely to cosponsor legislation concerning women’s issues with one another, especially in bipartisan fashion. This effect is present even after controlling for the effect of ideology but is unique to women’s issues.

In short, the use of multi-member districts does affect representation in several state legislatures. Where there are competitive elections for multiple seats in a single district-wide election, more than one-fifth of these districts see representation by more than one party. Also, under the MMD system, women see substantial gains in their electoral performance.

However, these elections are fundamentally similar to single-member districts in that they are winner-take-all elections: since voters select candidates equal to the district’s magnitude, it is possible for a political majority to prevent the election of even a single candidate from the political minority if the majority votes as a bloc.

With the adoption of additional measures, such as ranked choice voting, the MMD system could further improve representation in state legislatures all across the country and (dare one even suggest it?) in Congress itself.

 

Andrew GrippIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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The People Have Spoken… And They Want Jon Stewart to Host POTUS Debate http://ivn.us/2015/08/25/people-spoken-want-jon-stewart-host-potus-debate/ http://ivn.us/2015/08/25/people-spoken-want-jon-stewart-host-potus-debate/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 19:45:33 +0000 http://ivn.us/?p=23295667969 The People Have Spoken… And They Want Jon Stewart to Host POTUS Debate

About two weeks ago a group of fans launched a petition on Change.org asking the Commission on Presidential Debates to let Stewart moderate one of the upcoming presidential debates. According to the petitioners, Stewart is more than qualified for the position.

Caitlin HurkesIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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The People Have Spoken… And They Want Jon Stewart to Host POTUS Debate

The proposal for Jon Stewart to moderate a presidential debate reached 300,000 signatures on Tuesday. The petitioners’ starting goal was just 150,000 signatures, which the petition quickly surpassed after going viral.

About two weeks ago, a group of fans launched a petition on Change.org asking the Commission on Presidential Debates to let Stewart moderate one of the fall presidential debates. According to the petitioners, Stewart is more than qualified for the position. During his 16-year run on the Daily Show, he interviewed 15 heads of state, 22 members of the U.S. Cabinet, 32 members of the U.S. Senate, 7 members of the House of Representatives, and countless other political and academic experts.

Furthermore, studies have shown that Stewart was more trustworthy than other mainstream news organizations. A 2014 study conducted by the Brookings Institute found that more Americans trusted The Daily Show with Jon Stewart over MSNBC. A Pew study, cited by Forbes, found more Americans trusted Jon Stewart than Bloomberg and the Economist.

Even Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley signed the petition in support of Jon Stewart moderating a debate:

Even if Stewart agrees to moderate a debate, it is not up to him. The petition is trying to reach the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has the ultimate authority in selecting moderators. However, a Change.org petition in 2012 started by three high school students successfully garnered enough support to influence the commission to select a female moderator.

Photo Credit: CBS News

Caitlin HurkesIVN.us - Independent Voter Network: Unfiltered News

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