IVN is going to the Democrat and Republican conventions this weekend to ask the leaders of the two parties some tough questions.
In San Diego, the California Democrats State Convention is being held. IVN's Jeff Powers will be in attendance where we will carry keynote speeches from gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newson as well as Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. IVN will then ask the politicians tough questions on gerrymandering, two-party duopoly and how can they improve the fractured nature of Washington.
I'm covering the Conservative movement's most important event of the year, and the place to be for those who religiously vote red. CPAC kicked off today here in Washington- actually just a few miles past the beltway at Maryland's National Harbor.
Not a Prius in sight during that traffic jam on the way in!
As I perused the agenda, I hoped that on the heels of the heinous and tragic shooting at a Florida high school last week which left 17 students dead, that a healthy and multifaceted debate on gun control miiiiight crop up.
Am I wrong to admit to hoping that such a hot-button national issue might now turn a tad vitriolic in the halls of the Gaylord Convention Center? And not by anger at the left, but by indignation at ourselves as Americans for not fixing the situation. My ears are trained to pick up derisive accusations lobbed from one side of the aisle at the opposing party, and I plan on hearing a lot of that in the next few days. But perhaps one panelist or big-name presenter could stand up and say, "Well, actually I disagree and here's why (insert well-reasoned, well-intentioned, answer), and I would like to propose an idea….". How neat would that be? How novel. How American.
Here's the sad part: On Tuesday Florida lawmakers voted straight down party lines (71-36) against even DEBATING a bill that would ban semiautomatic rifles and large capacity ammunition magazines.
That vote epitomizes my sadness.
That bill was just a failed pitch to help fix this toxic, three-decades-of-escalating-gun-violence problem. Of course the vote was right down party lines. Most voting that turns out that way gives me the shivers.
It was a non-starter from the outset, and it’s a great example of why the two-party system is failing this country. We need more independent minded thinkers in Congress.
Which brings me to the CPAC agenda. I feel any discussion at CPAC will mirror that vote. Can we reasonably expect to hear many circumspect arguments from conservative mouths about new stances on gun safety (notice I did not use the trigger word "control") . I anticipate we are going to hear a vociferous pronouncement of how, "disrespectful the left-wing-media is to talk about gun control just a few hours after the shooting when families have not yet buried their dead," or whatever was offered up last week in the form of a conservative argument. The thing is, if a drug were used to murder 17 kids you would talk about it right away, and maybe you would compromise more because it does not have its own amendment.
The expectation by attendees of CPAC is that the conversation will most likely be of the kind offered up by their Facebook feed - more of the same stuff they already agree with (now, I say the same things about Progressive conventions, too.) It is the same perpetual formula. The ideas put forward will be supported by the audience, a provocation will be offered up to bring on the fighting spirit, and plans will be laid to fight the opponent.
It’s what bots do. It’s what hyper-partisanship on steroids did before bots showed up. And it has always been done on the 24-hour news cycle.
Now consider that 47 percent of attendees at CPAC last year were between the ages of 18 and 24 - a generation that does not know life without all three.
So in the spirit of non-partisanship, here's to hoping that in such a homogenous arena, a few outliers might toss a couple of questions and answers of their own into the ring to cause us also to consider the other side and how we might compromise. Or perhaps those outliers can at least acknowledge that the other side is not always entirely wrong and a threat to democracy.
I do not mean to be completely negative however; there are some pretty interesting conversations happening at CPAC. So take a look at some of what IVN is keeping an eye on as we kick off the first full day and progress through the anti-progressive week (see what I did there?)