Posted by Jonathan Richter on June 19, 2018 at 10:02 AM
Throughout slavery, Reconstruction and the movement for civil rights, African Americans in the U.S. have faced racism, social disparities, and oppression. While things have advanced for us significantly, black Americans still encounter subtle and blatant social disenfranchisement.
For instance, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the people behind bars in the U.S. are disproportionately black. Chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, HIV, and cancer are more prevalent and diagnosed at later stages in the black community due to poverty and harmful social and environmental conditions.
Posted by Jonathan Richter on June 19, 2018 at 9:55 AM
Last month, leading up to California’s primary elections, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said “I hate the top-two” open primary system. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said California’s top-two system “is not a reform. It is terrible.” Their bipartisan response should tell you everything you need to know: Political parties hate top-two, so voters should love it.
We’re from different parties, we don’t agree on every issue, and we don’t bench-press the same amount — yet. But when it comes to California’s open primary system, where the two candidates who get the most votes advance to the general election, regardless of their political party, we see eye to eye: That current system, in place since 2012, works best because it puts the voters first.
Posted by Jonathan Richter on June 08, 2018 at 9:59 AM
In Harrisburg, generally known as the Place Reform Goes to Die, there is now robust debate about two critical political reforms: 1) proposals to end gerrymandering by creating a more independent process by which to draw political maps, and 2) proposals to enact open primaries and allow the state’s 750,000 independent voters to participate in first-round elections.
Are these proposals a quick fix to all that ails our politics? Probably not. Are they worth doing? Absolutely. The status quo (closed primaries and gerrymandered districts) now go hand-in-glove to insulate politicians, reduce competition, and reinforce partisanship.
Posted by Jonathan Richter on June 07, 2018 at 12:47 PM
After months of review, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee concurred that Russia attempted to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.
Would it be that Russia was the only actor working to skew our elections? As Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter document in their recent Harvard Business School report, the modus operandi of both political parties is to restrict competition, manipulate voters and depress participation: “The politics industry is different from virtually all other industries in the economy because the participants, themselves, control the rules of competition.”
Posted by Jonathan Richter on June 07, 2018 at 12:44 PM
Like many progressive New York Democrats, I welcomed Cynthia Nixon's entry into the primary race for governor. If there's one thing that has brought New Yorkers together in recent years, it is our collective disgust at the calcified machine brand of politics that dominates our state at every level and reduces progressive change to a marketing slogan. Nixon entered the Democratic Party primary promising a bold departure from the policies and practices that, in her words, have made New York "the single most unequal state in the country."
Bold and comprehensive political revitalization (nonpartisan redistricting, strong ethics laws, and nonpartisan primaries) is why California is innovating at every level of policy and New York is stuck in political amber. So it was with much disappointment that I read her recent prescription for electoral change, focusing on early voting, automatic voter registration and changing the deadlines on party registration. Worthwhile changes to be sure but woefully inadequate and uninspired.
Posted by Jonathan Richter on June 05, 2018 at 11:16 AM
There isn’t much that unites Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy these days, but the two most powerful Californians in American politics agree wholeheartedly on this: They both despise their state’s “top two” primary, a system adopted by voters in 2010 that dispenses with party labels and has wreaked havoc for Democrats and Republicans alike.
“This is not a reform. It is terrible,” Pelosi, the House minority leader and former Democratic speaker, told reporters last month. She complained that the system costs too much money and shuts out smaller parties in the name of opening up the primary process to a broader population of voters.
Posted by Jonathan Richter on May 24, 2018 at 10:22 AM
It is sooo good to close the door on this year’s primary election. The advertising in the Republican gubernatorial race was wretched. Tommy Ahlquist started early with negative ads and it did not take too long for the contest to degenerate into a mud-slinging match. I don’t recall primary elections being as ugly as this one when Idaho had the open primary system.
Posted by Jonathan Richter on May 24, 2018 at 10:13 AM
The two major political parties have long held a stranglehold over the electoral system of Pennsylvania. Until February, the requirements for an independent candidate to appear on the ballot were so much more stringent than those for candidates of the two major parties that they effectively precluded independent candidacies in the commonwealth.
Independent candidates still face hurdles that exceed those of candidates from the major parties, and the state remains an inhospitable place for independent candidates and voters. And there's a tone-deafness, or maybe more to the point, a feigned ignorance of the idea that political candidates should not have to have an "R" or a "D" by their name to have a fair chance to compete for votes, and that voters need not be loyal to a particular party to elect the best people to office.
Posted by Jonathan Richter on May 22, 2018 at 2:41 PM
Calls for campaign finance improvements, election reform, and changes to the structure and functions of community boards dominated the fourth borough hearing of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Charter Revision Commission, held Monday night at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Posted by Russell Daniels on March 29, 2018 at 3:06 PM
Some California Democratic Party leaders have recently posited that too much competition in the upcoming primaries may be a bad thing. This is short sighted.
Democrats should not simply embrace California’s open system, we should champion it around the country. If we want to build lasting majorities in Congress and make meaningful progress on the vital issues facing our country, we must inspire trust and confidence in the American people and that means embracing electoral reform and increased competition.