Category Archives: The electorate

The Case Against Hillary: a Compendium of 175 Articles, 2005-2016

For those of you who want to immediately begin digging, please do proceed.

This compendium consists of 175 articles from 2005-2016 taken from independent news websites, blogs, and other sources and focuses on Hillary Clinton’s record as Secretary of State (2009-2013) and as a Presidential Primary candidate in 2008 and 2016. Her Senate record (2001-2009), though also important, is barely covered, but you can search her Senate votes and sponsorships online. In addition, the twitter feed Defeat the DINOcrats includes some graphics about Clinton’s votes on major legislation.

Topics covered include the economy, trade, politics, foreign affairs, diversity, justice, ethics, the environment, health insurance, and others.

Many of the news and opinion sources for this compendium rely on reader contributions to bring us the kind of insightful and independent reporting and commentary that isn’t available in the mainstream corporate media, so please consider giving to them. These organizations include
Alternet
Truthdig
Truthout
Democracy Now!
Pro Publica
Foreign Policy in Focus
The Nation, and
OtherWords.

LINKS
Compendium: https://theciviccenter.wordpress.com/cpdm00000045
This page: https://theciviccenter.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/00000045, http://wp.me/s1XWDT-00000045

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A charter amendment to amend the charter

On this blog, I have criticized two amendments to the Home Rule Charter of the District of Columbia, one providing for election of the attorney general and another for expulsion of the mayor and members of the council.

The approval of both amendments by popular vote seems to result from D.C. voters’ rush to embrace anything that sounds like reform. Furthermore, it seems that many voters don’t know or think about proposed charter amendments until election day and vote “yes” or “no” without having any informed consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal in question. (I am guilty of this also.)

I don’t see much opportunity for informed deliberation on charter amendments when they are put on the ballot. Note that the U.S. Constitution is amended not by popular vote but through a process that provides many opportunities for deliberation in state legislatures and in Congress.

A way to improve the process for D.C. charter amendments could be to replace approval by popular election with approval by a supermajority (2/3 or 3/4) of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. (This would, I think, require amending the charter by popular vote!) ANC meetings would thus provide a formal opportunity for citizens to learn about proposed amendments and to hear and discuss diverse views of them. Involving the ANCs in this way would ensure that approval or rejection of a charter amendment is the result of an informed, moderated discussion rather than a reaction to a scandal or a rush to promote change under the illusion of a more ethical and responsive government.

The Civically Clueless

A recent analysis by David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report found consistently lower turnout of voters age 18-44 in recent midterm elections. Wasserman presented his findings recently on MSNBC.

My conjecture for explaining the lower turnout among younger voters is that they do not know who their representatives in Congress are, who their state governor is, or who represents them in their state legislature. This ignorance, I surmise, characterizes a significant percentage of young people who voted for Obama or for Bill Clinton, and at least partially explains the Republican victories in 1994 and 2010. These people voted in Presidential elections simply because they found Obama or Clinton personally appealing and then totally ignored the mid-terms.

I’m aware of some studies of voter ignorance, but I think that a survey that attempts to correlate voters’ knowledge with their participation and their Presidential preferences could help to further explain the trends illustrated in Wasserman’s report.

A Tribute to My Mother, a Conservation Conservative

I’d like to dedicate this post to my late mother on this Mother’s Day because she had a combination of convictions that defy categorization. As a telephone operator during the 1950s and 60s, she was an active member of the Communications Workers of America. In recent years before her death, moreover, she contributed generously to the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, and other conservation groups. Her contributions to labor and environmental causes, and her collection of books by Molly Ivins, would have her labeled as a liberal.

However, my mother could easily be labeled as a conservative on social issues. She opposed gay rights and abortion because of her religious beliefs and expressed skepticism of gender equality. (I respected but disagreed with her positions on these issues.) Apparently, however, these issues weren’t very important on election day because, as far as I can recall, she consistently voted Democrat or Green, and her vote is what really counts.