Safeguarding Democracy

  • July 28, 2017—Every Seattle voter now receives four vouchers, worth $25 each, that can be donated to the campaign funds of candidates for city offices. The program, the first in the nation, was approved by Seattle voters in 2015. The Social Democrat heartily applauds this major advance toward greater democracy for the average citizen.

  • According to an analysis by the Campaign Legal Center, the 2016 elections were the most skewed in modern times.

  • A Washington Post study finds that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which removed restrictions on political spending by PACs, has substantially benefitted Republican candidates in state legislative races.

  • Alt-right websites traceable to both Russian and American right-wing groups are seeking to weaken European democracies, reports the Washington Post.

  • The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan organization of legal scholars, offers a simple plan to end partison gerrymandering.

  • Assualts on journalists, Confederate flag-waving by candidates, making political hay over a political opponent’s death: previously taboo acts of incivility are being normalized in the Trump GOP.

  • There has been a great deal of discussion around changing voting procedures to break the lock of the two big parties on our political life. Last fall Maine voters moved beyond the talking stage and passed a ballot measure calling for ranked-choice voting. At the behest of Republican lawmakers, in May the Maine Supreme Court struck down the measure.

  • The Internet is looking to become a lot less open after the FCC's May vote to begin reversing net neutrality rules. The Washington Post reports.

  • In a nation which prides itself on being the world’s oldest democracy, the ultimate decision on vital issues rests with an unelected, nine-person junta which serves for life and whose members can never be fired. A pair of scholars propose limits on Supreme Court terms in this Washington Post column.

  • The House’s far-right Freedom Caucus is electorially untouchable, thanks to Republican gerrymandering in the 2010 redistrictings, writes David Daley in the Washington Post. The revival of democracy in America will require major changes to current ground rules.

  • The typical House seat is now won by margins of 70%-30%, margins “you’d expect in North Korea or Zimbabwe,” writes scholar Brian Klaas in this Washington Post piece. The reason: gerrymandering. To fix our broken democracy, we must put a stop to the process.