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In California, open primaries took the 'politics' out of politics

Posted by jesse shayne on September 19, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Last month, the California legislature did something unheard of — by Washington, D.C., standards. They came together across party lines to amend and extend sweeping cap and trade emissions legislation. Business, agriculture, labor and environmentalists all had a seat at the table.

By 2030, California’s population is expected to grow by five million people, yet our greenhouse gas emissions will shrink to 40 percent below 1990 levels. In this era of cynicism and gridlock, how is this possible?

The answer may surprise you. It’s not because California is a “blue” state. If that were the reason, New York would be leading the country in legislative innovation, not state house scandals and indictments. Seven years ago, Californians overhauled the political system so that voters have more choices and politicians are incentivized to cooperate and innovate, not grandstand and polemicize.

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How to fix US politics? Maybe start by seeing it as an ‘industrial complex.’

Posted by jesse shayne on September 18, 2017 at 1:21 PM

This article was written by Laurent Belsie for the Christian Science Monitor

Search for Solutions: America’s political dysfunction stems from a duopoly structure that’s been amplified in recent decades, a new report argues. Some states may already be pointing toward solutions that better serve the public interest.

In 2015, shortly after selling her family’s food-products business, CEO Katherine Gehl had an epiphany: What if you analyzed the US political system as an industry? Suddenly, new answers appeared for questions, such as: Why are politics so partisan? Why can’t Washington get things done? Ms. Gehl teamed up with Harvard business professor Michael Porter, a consultant for her family business, to investigate the industry of politics. On Sept. 13, they released a report, “Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America.” Here are edited excerpts of their conversation with Monitor business writer Laurent Belsie.

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Harvard Business School’s Latest Case Study Looks at American Politics and Finds a Rigged System

Posted by jesse shayne on September 18, 2017 at 10:55 AM

This article was written by Jeffrey Sparshott for the Wall Street Journal

The U.S. political system isn’t broken. It’s working exactly the way the two main parties designed it.

That’s the conclusion of a new Harvard Business School study. Authors Katherine Gehl, former president and CEO of Gehl Foods, and Michael Porter, a professor at the school, apply business theory to the U.S. political system and find an industry that works for Democratic and Republican organizations, big donors, pollsters, consultants, partisan think tanks, the media and lobbyists, but ignores most American citizens.

“By nearly every measure, the industry of politics, itself, is thriving,” Ms. Gehl and Mr. Porter said in the report. “There’s just one problem. The people whom the politics industry is supposed to serve have never been more dissatisfied.”

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How Can Citizens Redress their Grievances of an Unfair Election Process?

Posted by jesse shayne on September 14, 2017 at 10:08 AM

This article was written by Tiani X. Coleman and Harry Kresky for the Huffington Post

According to Judge William J. Zloch, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, they can’t.

On August 25, 2017, Judge Zloch dismissed a significant lawsuit brought by activists fighting a grave injustice in the electoral system, the unfairness of the Democratic primary. This case, known as the “DNC lawsuit” was brought by supporters of Bernie Sanders who felt they had a cause of action against the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) and its then Chairwoman Deborah Wasserman Shultz, for fraud and misrepresentation, for tilting the playing field against Bernie Sanders and in favor of Hillary Clinton, who won the nomination but then went on to lose the presidency to Donald Trump. The implications of Zloch’s dismissal are a big deal for the public at large, whether one is a Bernie fan or not. The issue is whether our country really stands for the proposition that all citizens should have equal voting rights.

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Give independents a chance

Posted by jesse shayne on September 06, 2017 at 11:56 AM

This article was written by Chuck Witt for the Winchester Sun

It might be interesting to see how voters in Clark County define themselves.

Nationally, more voters claim to be Independents than either Democrat or Republican.

A 2014 Pew Research Center poll found that 39 percent of those polled claimed to be Independent, while only 32 percent opted for Democrat and 23 percent for Republican labels.

(Obviously, that only adds up to 94 percent, so six percent either chose to not classify themselves or didn’t answer the question, and these percentages probably don’t hold true for Kentucky voters). Some information suggests that the percentage of Independents may be as high as 43 percent nationwide.

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We must change our election primary systems to save our democracy

Posted by jesse shayne on August 30, 2017 at 11:40 AM

This article was written by former Missouri State Senator Marvin A. Singleton for the Kansas City Star

The political system we have come to know and practice — outlined by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and giving one vote to each citizen — is in grave danger.

We have recently seen candidates for the presidency with historically high negatives. Neither major candidate was able to discuss major policies or their visions for the country. Instead, we saw personal attacks, accusations, misinformation and the general lack of a thoughtful approach to governing. “Trust me” is no longer a valid policy statement or position for any politician.

Regardless of how we got here, to ensure that our democracy moves forward and represents the will of the majority of Americans, change in the system must come — fundamental change in how we chose our candidates. We must give the majority of citizens input into the process.

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Illinois Issues: Party Politics Is Killing State

Posted by jesse shayne on August 28, 2017 at 4:46 PM

Party politics is killing America and Illinois. It is not enough to just elect different people into a bad system. We have to fundamentally change politics, and that starts with real open primaries.

The 2016 presidential election has opened the eyes of Americans who are more aware than ever of a rigged political system working against the voters.

Americans are fed up with a political party establishment more interested in their side “winning” than in what is best for the country.

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Independent voters have second-class status in American democracy

Posted by jesse shayne on July 20, 2017 at 3:39 PM

This article was written by Open Primaries President John Opdycke for The Hill

"Morning Joe" is in mourning. The deceased is the Republican Party of balanced budgets and international restraint.

MSNBC host and former Congressman Joe Scarborough announced last week that he was leaving the Republican Party. In an impassioned piece for The Washington Post, Scarborough cited Donald Trump’s actions and Republican Party leadership’s silence as the basis of his decision:

“The wreckage visited of this man will break the Republican Party into pieces — and lead to the election of independent thinkers no longer tethered to the tired dogmas of the polarized past. When that day mercifully arrives, the two-party duopoly that has strangled American politics for almost two centuries will finally come to an end. And Washington just may begin to work again.”

Welcome to the (anti-) party, Scarborough! You are joining the roughly 45 percent of Americans who are abandoning the Democratic and Republican Parties or never joined them in the first place. Not only are our ranks growing, but political scientists and pollsters are finally acknowledging that independents are not apathetic fence-sitters but engaged Americans concerned about how the parties and partisanship are ruining our country.

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America needs to get rid of closed primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on July 20, 2017 at 12:59 PM

This editorial was published by The Independent Florida Alligator

As we’re sure you are aware, Florida is a closed primary state. This means that in order to vote in a primary election, Florida residents must be registered with a political party. It also means in the primaries, they are only be able to vote for candidates running for a position within their registered party. In general elections, however, they are able to vote for any candidate in any party.

In our opinion, closed primary states need to be brought to an end. Not only are they restrictive and suppressive, but they further divide our nation by strengthening party identification.

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