Category Archives: Voting

Mitch ‘Nuclear Option’ McConnell Poised to Turn Steady Stream of Trump’s Right-Wing Judges Into a Flood

Critics warn that even if Democrats regain control of White House and Senate, the flood of judges could mean there will be no more vacancies to fill post-2020

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-6-2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly planning to change the chamber’s rules to make it easier to confirm right-wing judicial nominees to lifetime appointments. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/cc/flickr)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly pursuing a “nuclear option” rule change to make it easier to push through a flood of President Donald Trump’s right-wing judges.

Under the new rules, nominees for lifetime appointments on lower courts would only require a simple majority of votes rather than the current 67. Critics condemned the move as “hijacking” the federal judiciary and pointed out that even if Democrats regain control of the Senate and White House in the next election, they may not have any more spots to fill post-2020. Continue reading

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With Trump Seen as ‘Symptom Not a Cause,’ US Rank Plummets on Global Corruption Index

“The U.S. is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-29-2019

People gathered in the streets of London to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom in July of 2018. (Photo: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr/cc)

An analysis out Tuesday from Transparency International “reveals the United States as a key country to watch in a global pattern of stagnating anti-corruption efforts and a worldwide crisis of democracy,” according to the group, with the U.S. rank on a global index plummeting by four points in just the past year under President Donald Trump.

The United States earned a score of 71 out of 100 on the watchdog’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), knocking it out of the top 20 countries for the first time since 2011. Continue reading

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In Rebuke of Trump’s Effort to ‘Weaponize’ 2020 Census Against Immigrant Communities, Federal Judge Strikes Down Citizenship Question

“Today’s ruling is a strong signal to the Trump administration that any attempts to politicize and corrupt the 2020 census will fail.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-15-2019

Common Cause called the Trump administration’s goal of including a citizenship status question on the 2020 U.S. census “an attempt to racially rig the census” last year. Photo: kidskunst.info

Civil liberties and immigration rights advocates are applauding a ruling decision by a federal judge New York on Tuesday after the court struck down the Trump administration’s attempt to insert a citizenship question in to the 2020 Census.

Ruling on a lawsuit filed by the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), the ACLU, and other groups, U.S. District Judge Jess Furman said that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census, acted illegally when he requested that the question be added. Continue reading

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United States Doesn’t Even Make Top 20 on Global Democracy Index

Nation classified “flawed democracy”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-11-2019

Statue of Liberty through the morning fog from the Staten Island Ferry. (Photo: Brian Angell/flickr/cc)

A new index released this week offers a sobering look at how democracy is faring in the United States.

According to the 2018 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the U.S. doesn’t even make the list of top 20—its demonstrably “flawed democracy” notching it the 25th spot.

The ranking is based on 60 indicators spanning five interrelated categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Each category gets a 0-10 score, with the final score being the average of those five. Continue reading

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‘No-Brainer for Anyone Who Actually Cares About American Democracy’: House Democrats’ HR 1 Praised as Real Plan to Drain the Swamp

“It’s time to unrig our broken political system. Our political leaders have been most responsive to the interests of their wealthy donors for too long while the needs of normal Americans go unaddressed.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-4-2018

Unlike President Donald Trump’s campaign trail vow to “drain the swamp” that never came to fruition—in fact, he has somehow managed to make Washington even swampier—House Democrats on Friday officially introduced sweeping legislation that progressives celebrated as a plan to actually confront the deep-seated corruption that has long pervaded the American political system.

Formally titled the For the People Act—or H.R. 1—and sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the far-reaching bill would promote public financing of elections, reduce the influence of corporate dark money, strengthen ethics and financial disclosure rules, and bolster voting rights, which are under severe attack from the Republican Party, the Trump White House, and the right-wing Supreme Court. Continue reading

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Celebrating a Congress That Looks ‘Like America,’ Ilhan Omar Shrugs Off Right-Wing Islamophobic Rant

“You’re gonna have to just deal.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-7-2018

Reps.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) at freshmen orientation on Capitol Hill last month. (Photo: @JossieValentin/Twitter)

Incoming Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Friday reminded a right-wing pastor and others who would lament the new cultural diversity of the U.S. Congress that the 2018 midterm elections simply gave Americans—particularly Democratic voters and progressives—the representation they asked for in Washington: the kind that looked like America.

After conservative minister and radio host E.W. Jackson delivered an Islamophobic rant on his show on Wednesday, decrying Omar’s status as one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress and warning that the Capitol is turning into a “institution of Sharia law,” the current state legislator replied simply that the pastor would “have to just deal.” Continue reading

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In ‘Craven’ Bait-and-Switch Attack on Workers, Michigan GOP Guts Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Proposals

“Imagine hating working-class people this much.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-5-2018

Michigan voters—joined by a “lame duck”—gathered to watch in Michigan’s capital as Republican lawmakers gutted a minimum wage hike and paid sick leave protections. (Photo: @LindsayVanHulle/Twitter)

Three months after ensuring that Michigan voters would not have a say in proposals to hike the state’s minimum wage and provide sick leave to workers, the state’s Republican-led Senate pushed through major changes to the initiatives on Tuesday, effectively gutting legislation that hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents had demanded.

Under the original minimum wage proposal, the state’s minimum wage would have gone up from $9.25 to $12 per hour by 2022—but workers will have to wait until 2030 under the GOP’s version of the bill. Tipped workers’s wages will go up to only $4 from $3.52 per hour by that time under the Republican proposal. Continue reading

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Emergency Protests Planned to Stop Scott Walker and Wisconsin GOP’s “Shocking and Naked Power Grab”

“This is straight out of a banana republic and should be a huge national story.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-3-2018

“Warning to our friends across the country: what happens in Wisconsin doesn’t stay in Wisconsin,” MoveOn.org Washington director Ben Wikler wrote. (Photo: Indivisible Madison)

As Wisconsin’s GOP-controlled legislature and outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker seek to thwart the will of voters by ramming through a sweeping slate of legislation that would drastically curtail Democratic governor-elect Tony Evers’ authority and ability to implement his agenda, progressive advocacy groups announced emergency rallies on Monday to fight back against the GOP’s latest “shocking and naked power grab.”

“This is straight out of a banana republic and should be a huge national story,” Mother Jones reporter Ari Berman said of the GOP plan, which would strip Evers’ power to approve decisions by the newly elected Democratic state attorney general and hand this authority over to the Republican legislature. Continue reading

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Election Day Was Filled With Frustrations, Claims of Mischief and Glimmers of Hope

Some states had ballot measures aimed at making it easier to vote or designed to take some of the politics out of how electoral districts are drawn up. In nearly every case, Americans seized the opportunity — with what the vote totals suggest was enthusiasm.

By Jessica Huseman. Published 11-9-2018 by ProPublica

Photo: Tom Arthur [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Election Day in America brought its familiar mix of misery and allegations of mischief: Aging voting machines crashed; rain-soaked citizens stood in endless lines; laws that many regarded as attempts to suppress turnout among people of color led to both confusion at the polls and angry calls for recounts and investigations.

 

The root causes have been at play for years. The neglect of America’s elections infrastructure, after all, has persisted, and all levels of government are responsible. And since the Supreme Court in 2013 voided a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, local governments have been emboldened in crafting hotly debated requirements for people to cast their ballots. Continue reading

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With Broken Machines and Hours-Long Waits Stopping Voters From Casting Ballots, Majority Says, “Make Election Day a Federal Holiday”

“Is voting meant to be an obstacle course?”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-6-2018

Photo: Big Dubya/flickr

A poll released as Americans cast their ballots in the midterm elections on Tuesday shows that more than half of the country believes Election Day should be made a national holiday—a likely partial solution to a number of problems that plague the voting system.

Fifty-four percent of respondents to the survey, taken by Hill.TV and HarrisX, say workers should be given the day off on Election Day, allowing them far more time to vote, saving them from having to leave their polling places without voting due to long lines and issues with voting machines, and potentially changing the United States’ generally low election turnout for the better. Continue reading

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