Doomed!

b6905cf2-2498-407c-a024-e5199cc4815bWhen I was drinking coffee this morning while reading the newspaper, my wife commented that nothing has been done since the 2016 election to fix the issues with voting machines being hacked, to combat Russian interference, to address voter suppression, or to fix state gerrymandering where Democrats receive more votes but Republicans win more seats.

“I have no doubt that, given all this, Trump will be re-elected in 2020,” she said. And then she suggested that Trump is positioning his daughter, Ivanka, to run in 2024, hoping to keep the Trump dynasty going. “That would also make Ivanka Trump the first woman president,” she added.

Ugh. Talk about a worst-case scenario!

We’re doomed!

And then, on a totally unrelated topic, I read an article on a site called Daily Writing Tips that “Google likes 1,500-word posts now, and dislikes 500-word ones.” 1,500 words? Seriously? Dislikes 500 word posts? Oh crap. My average post length so far this year is only 227 words! So much for having any of my posts show up highly ranked in Google searches.

I’m doomed!

We Can Do Better

8ACDAA6B-E83A-4081-983B-75FBE0B3BEC8The following editorial was written by William Falk, Editor-in-Chief for the one hard copy magazine I still receive in the mail, The Week.

Falk’s message is that, when it comes to voting, America can do better. He points out that the US ranks “26th out of 32 developed democratic nations in turnout.” He notes that other democracies encourage citizen voting, while we seem to put obstacles in their paths. [And, if I may add my own two cents, one party is guilty of blatant voter suppression. Can you guess which party?]

So here’s what Falk wrote:

For a nation that prides itself on our pioneering role in democratic self-rule, we are not very good at elections. More than a week after the midterms, we still do not know who won several disputed House, Senate, and gubernatorial races. In this election, nearly half the eligible voters — about 115 million people — cast ballots, which is the highest-percentage turnout for a midterm since 1914. For this surge in enthusiasm, we can, of course, thank President Trump, who is demonstrating even to disengaged citizens why politics matters.

But compared with most Western democracies, a 49 percent turnout is pathetic. Based on the 2016 presidential election, we rank 26th out of 32 developed democratic nations in turnout. Belgium had an 87 percent turnout in its last election; Sweden, 83 percent; Australia, 79 percent.

Why the huge disparity? Those democracies actively encourage citizens to vote, rather than putting myriad obstacles in their path. If we truly wanted 80 percent turnout in the U.S., it wouldn’t be hard. Democracies with high rates of participation automatically register all citizens to vote. In the U.S., more than 50 million of our citizens — about 1 in 4 — haven’t registered and weren’t eligible to cast ballots on Election Day. Countries that believe in democracy don’t hold elections on Tuesday, when most people are working; they cast ballots on Saturday or Sunday, or make Election Day a national holiday.

Curiously enough, some Americans contend that we are better off if certain citizens do not participate in our democracy. Thomas Paine, a Founding Father and revolutionary advocate of self-rule, would disagree. “The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all others are protected,” Paine wrote. People who can’t vote, he said, are like “slaves,” whose fate is determined by others.

If we want to call ourselves a democracy, we can and should do better.

The Blue Wave

B2629D38-47BD-487F-9C42-35505FF00AAAI have always thought that voting is an American principle and a basic democratic right that should be protected, promoted, and practiced. And I believed that, regardless of political party or ideology, one aspect of our American democracy that is sacrosanct is the right and duty to vote.

But boy oh boy was I naive. One party, the Republican Party, is going to great lengths in states controlled by Republican governors and/or legislators, to limit voting rights, particularly those of minority populations. In state after Republican state, roadblocks are being thrown in the path of a segment of voters in a blatant voter suppression initiative. In some cases, it’s reducing or closing polling places in minority districts. In other cases it’s purging registered voters from the voting rolls.

It’s actually quite scary how these fleek politicians keep trying to take advantage of those that they don’t see as worthy, that they don’t see as equals, that don’t look like them, that don’t pray like them, that they see as “the other.”

But at the risk of sounding like an internet troll, they will get theirs in November when the blue wave will come in and flush away their castle in the sand.


Written for the following one-word prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (scary), Ragtag Daily Prompt (fleek), Daily Addictions (advantage), Word of the Day Challenge (troll), Scotts Daily Prompt (flush), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (castle).

Supreme Court — Racially-Motivated Gerrymandering is A-OK

 

795C3892-5DAE-4CD7-891E-E1F0D7FA98AFIn a 5-4, party-lines decision, The Supreme Court of the United States voted to approve racially-motivated gerrymandering, which is surprising because, in the past, SCOTUS has held that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) outlaws gerrymandering when it dilutes the votes of minority citizens.

The VRA was meant to enforce the 15th Amendment’s bar on racial voter suppression by blocking state voting laws suspected of racial discrimination. Section 2 forbids any “standard, practice, or procedure” that “results in the denial or abridgement” of the right to vote “on account of race or color.” But that is exactly what gerrymandering is intended to do.

In Abbott v. Perez, Trump’s only (so far) SCOTUS appointee, Neil Gorsuch — along with the Court’s conservative majority — has position himself as a fierce opponent of the Voting Rights Act. Gorsuch held that Texas’ maps for its congressional seats and statehouse districts do not prohibit racial gerrymandering, even though those who drew those voting district lines have privately confessed that that was their intent.

How in the hell will the United States ever recover from this kind of partisan bullshit? How can these Supreme Court justices, who allegedly possess such brilliant legal and constitutional minds, be so fucking dense?