IVN Daily Digest — July 24, 2014

1. Illinois Times runs op-ed saying open primaries and redistricting reform would help ease partisan gridlock in Washington.

“Open primaries would help moderate the nation’s politics, as would bipartisan redistricting commissions capable of doing away with gerrymandered districts. Increasing voter participation and improving the integrity of our elections would also help. “

The only problem is we are not defining what “moderate the nation’s politics” actually means, and we have to distinguish between bipartisan and nonpartisan, because the redistricting process in many states is already a bipartisan process where Republicans get their districts and Democrats get their districts. Both parties aim to maintain the status quo.

2. Recent poll shows that Florida voters do not trust the major party candidates for governor.

“‘Voters don’t like either of the major party candidates. They don’t think either candidate is honest and trustworthy, they have unfavorable opinions of both major party candidates, and that, to some degree, may explain how Mr. Wyllie’s doing as well as he is,’ said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s polling.”

Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie is polling at 9 percent in the Quinnipiac poll. The article discusses how Wyllie’s lack of funding is preventing him from getting a policy message out to voters that is actually resonating with many voters and is the reason he is doing so well.

3. Pew Research takes a look at why voter turnout drops during midterm elections versus presidential elections.

“Who turns out to vote and why is of much more than academic interest. In an era of increasingly polarized politics, campaign strategists must decide how much effort to put into persuading independent-minded voters to come out and support their candidate without antagonizing their party’s core supporters, who are more likely to vote anyway. Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012 were largely due to his campaign’s success in expanding the electorate — inspiring new voters and increasing turnout among blacks.”

The discussion we are not having is that we have an election system that encourages only the most partisan to participate — or only allows partisan voters to participate — by limiting the electoral contest to Republican v. Democrat. This continues to be the only way the media wants to talk about politics in America despite the fact that more and more voters are rejecting the major parties. As the demography of partisan voters shrinks and becomes even more polarized, voter turnout continues to shrink in congressional elections — over 90 percent of which are not competitive because of election and redistricting laws.

4. All 4 candidates in South Dakota U.S. Senate race will be featured in debates.

“Former South Dakota Republican Governor Mike Rounds and Democratic small businessman Rick Weiland will appear side-by-side along with Independent candidates Larry Pressler and Gordon Howie to talk about the top issues facing the country and South Dakota.”

The candidates will appear in 4 debates leading up to the November election.

5. The U.S. Senate is expected to have a record number of former House members in its lineup.

“Five of the most critical races feature a House member as the nominee: House Republicans are challenging Democratic Senate incumbents in Arkansas, Colorado and Louisiana, and House Democrats are trying to defend seats vacated by retiring Democratic senators in Iowa and Michigan.”

An interesting report on U.S. Senate races from The Washington Post.

What news stories have you been following?