A short while ago I was asked my opinion of Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 US 310 (2010), and some of the new cases coming before the Supreme Court regarding campaign finance laws. While this article is short, it will encapsulate some of my thinking on the issue, and how I answered the question. It doesn’t purport to be a scholarly reply, as I am writing for a more general audience, but I hope that the comments contained herein provides some food for thought.
At its heart is the initial question of whether monetary contributions by individual citizens to political candidates is in fact speech. That question was answered affirmatively in the 1976 case of Buckley v. Valeo, 424 US 1 (1976), which struck down the 1974 amendments to the campaign finance laws pertaining to candidate expenditure, while upholding limits on individual campaign contributions. The central holding that is in fierce debate, namely that campaign contribution limitations are constitutional, has come into some question with the Citizen’s United decision, as well as some slightly older decisions during the first decade of the 21st Century. Read more
I am sorry, but, I don't get it. Why would Democrats sit out the special election in FL#13 and not elect Alex Sink? There was only a 39% voter turnout and nearly 9000 voted for the Libertarian candidate. Jolly only won by 2 points. If only 3500 people, Dems or Libertarians, had voted for Sink, she would have beaten Jolly. This is just ridiculous. It is unacceptable! What kind of dummy tries to send a message by voting 3rd party? You might as well fill out your ballot and throw it in the garbage can. The only way we are going to change the direction of the country is to get people to vote the Democratic candidate into office. It really doesn't matter who wins the Presidency in 2016 if we still have a Congress controlled by the GOP and Tea Party. So, please, tell all your friends and relatives to be sure they are registered and have the correct ID's and then vote this year.
As America shivered through a historic freeze, Obama warmed up the discussion of poverty, the Senate passed unemployment benefits and debate shifted from austerity to inequality.
While record lows chilled much of the country, there was a spark of hope on intelligence reform, Affordable Care sign-ups heated up and new allies called to let Snowden thaw out.
And in NJ, the GOP's most popular candidate may have to put his 2016 plans on ice as his national ambitions seem a bridge too far.
Politics has never been believably pretty, but in the Garden State, Did Hell Just Freeze Over? it's unbelievably petty.
Maybe the polar vortex caused hell to freeze over: we're witnessing events we had never expected, and a few conservatives stuck out in the cold.
Warm company, hot topics and cool beers will turn a winter night into a winner night at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Michael Stinnett - 9/03/2013: Legal rulings such as Citizens United and lax campaign financing laws have undermined the democratic process allowing wealthy donors to buy elections; so-called Super PACs are a pernicious influence on society and should be abolished. A Super PAC, or independent expenditure-only committee, “may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates. Super PACs must, however, report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or quarterly basis – the Super PAC's choice – as a traditional PAC would. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates” (Super PACs). The recent ruling protects political spending by corporations in candidate elections, citing the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. In justifying the ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that “'If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech'” (The New York Times). Read more
Yes. I busted my ass for Obama the first time around.
Opened my checkbook, campaigned, knocked on doors. Did everything I could to see that he carried Florida in the Presidential election.
Not easy in a place where Fred Thompson signs were as common as plastic pink flamingos at the time during the primary and right wing nuts carried Soviet flags outside of local Obama campaign headquarters. Where women thought Palin was the essence of true feminism. I had the lone Obama sign on my lawn in a sea of McCain - Palin cardboard.
But I got the last laugh. At least I thought so at the time.
We had elected a Democratic President and controlled the two Houses of Congress. And we carried Florida.
Maybe something would get done.
Maybe universal healthcare. Maybe peace would come. Maybe a society which would leave behind racism. Maybe repeal of the Bush tax giveaways to billionaires. Maybe we would spend money on people rather than aircraft carriers. Maybe we would stop torturing people. Maybe Gitmo would close.
Maybe. Read more
The New York Times front page on 7 March 1930, the day following the march for Unemployment Insurance.
Does it boggle your mind to see working class people using their time to demonstrate for less government involvement, while living off of unemployment or social security checks? What exactly are these people thinking? How can people work so directly against their own best interests?
It's an insanity that Thomas Frank noted in his book "Whatﾒs the matter with Kansas?":
"the country we have inhabited for the last three decades seems more like a panorama of madness and delusion worthy of Hieronymous Bosch: of sturdy patriots reciting the Pledge while they resolutely strangle their own life chances; of small farmers proudly voting themselves off the land; of devoted family men carefully seeing to it that their children will never be able to afford college or proper health care; of hardened blue-collar workers in mid-western burgs cheering as they deliver up a landslide for a candidate whose policies will end their way of life, will transform their region into a "rust belt," will strike people like them blows from which they will never recover." Read more
It’s February 18th; do you know where your podcast is? On this date in 1856 the American Party held a convention to nominate a candidate for president - electing Millard Fillmore as the nominee for the Know-Nothings. This moniker reflected the early nativists’ tight lips when asked about their political platform, as members would respond to questions by saying the knew nothing. Two secretive nativist organizations, the “Order of United Americans” and the “Order of the Star Spangled Banner” (sound like great folks), merged to form the American Party in order to protect America from insidious immigrant influences. Ironically, every tribe of “nativists” on the continent prior to the arrival of the European deluge most certainly had a kindred faction the Know-Nothings would really have related to. History was, alas, not on the side of these patriotic souls. The nomination of Fillmore officially ended the party’s demure disposition as they “came out” to the public. This act also signified the beginning of the end of the party itself, as the public responded with a resounding “you suck” and the Know-Nothings won only Maryland, eventually disbanding shortly after. Read more
With President Barack Obama currently in the process of filling vacancies in his cabinet—already one current United States Senator has gotten the nod—and with the retirement of Senators Rockefeller, Harkin, and Chambliss, there has been a good amount of chatter about the ramifications of opening up a U.S. Senate seat. While every state is a unique case, we started wondering what the actual numerical advantage is when it comes to incumbency.
The answer is 7 or 10, or 9 or 16, depending on the situation. While this is a little less prophetic than the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life (42 for all the non-Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans out there), there is an interesting pattern that has developed over the past six years or so. Read more
As many might remember in July of this year we released the results of our presidential electoral model to predict the results of the 2012 election. As opposed to many predictive models out there (Nate Silver’s 538 blog being the best known) that rely on publicly available data up to the day of the election, our model is based mainly on past results and demographic changes in the country. We do not use any polling or factor in who the candidates are.
The model not only performed exceptionally well at predicting the national support Obama would receive, but we also predicted the state that would put Obama over the 270 threshold (Colorado). Read more
We supporters of Barack Obama just won a major election and we are all feeling confident. We should, Obama definitely won a mandate when it comes to raising taxes on the rich, along with passing a comprehensive immigration policy. Then we managed to hold our majority in the Senate and we added two seats, with two Independents caucusing with the Democrats.
However, let us not get too comfortable because 2014 is just around the corner, as far as elections go. Some Republicans from the far right are not going to give up. Some even believe that this last election had to be fixed in some way, and that we Democrats were the ones who suppressed voters, not they.
Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate who lost the election to Barack Obama by a clear margin, discounts his loss in the election, to the president giving gifts to certain minorities. Read more
As many might remember in July of this year we released the results of our presidential electoral model to predict the results of the 2012 election. As opposed to many predictive models out there (Nate Silver's 538 blog being the best known) that rely on publicly available data up to the day of the election, our model is based mainly on past results and demographic changes in the country. We do not use any polling or factor in who the candidates are.
The model not only performed exceptionally well in predicting the national support Obama would receive (only 1/10 of a point off), but we also predicted the state that would put Obama over the 270 threshold (Colorado). Additionally, when looking at the state by state results, the model was only off by an average of 2.3 percent across all 50 states. However, in the 10 swing states it was only off by .8 percent. 538 was off by .7 percent in the same 10 states. Additionally we were closer to predicting the results in 5 of the 10 states, while 538 was closer on 4 and we tied on one. Read more