From ‘liquid biopsies’ to precision medicine, these five developments will change cancer care in the next decade. Learn more.

Reply
Valued Social Butterfly
1
Kudos
436
Views

Re: The case against civility

436 Views
Message 51 of 57

gruffstuff,

Thanks so much for the time and research in your post. Also, for sharing this with me.   Nancy

Report Inappropriate Content
1
Kudos
436
Views
Valued Social Butterfly
4
Kudos
443
Views

Re: The case against civility

443 Views
Message 52 of 57

The case against civility

 

The net result of all these changes is that the federal government is growing less and less responsive to the interests of the public.

 

Voters want to raise taxes on the rich, but Congress just cut them. Voters want universal gun background checks, but Congress won't pass them. While voters want legal marijuana, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and stronger environmental rules, the federal government is cracking down on pot, locking undocumented children in cages and undoing years of environmental protections.

 

Voting, marching and donating money may not seem to make much of a difference these days, in part because lawmakers have been busy enacting legislation that alters the rules of the political process to the advantage of entrenched majorities.

 

In that kind of environment, “incivility” may be the only way to be heard.

Report Inappropriate Content
4
Kudos
443
Views
Valued Social Butterfly
3
Kudos
435
Views

Re: The case against civility

435 Views
Message 53 of 57

The case against civility

 

5. Big money in politics

Voting aside, another substantive way to enact political change is to donate to a political cause. Research shows lawmakers are more likely to listen to constituents who give them money. The more money you have, the easier it is to donate to politicians and have your voice heard.

 

In the past few decades, the super-rich have caught on to this and become extremely active in political causes. A 2013 paper by Stanford University's Adam Bonica and colleagues showed the share of all itemized campaign donations coming from the top 0.01 percent of voting-age households (that is, the 1 percent of the 1 percent) more than quadrupled between 1982 and 2012. In 2016, just 400 donors accounted for nearly one-fifth of all itemized campaign spending.

While most people who donate to campaigns give $100 or less, a disproportionate share of cash going to political causes is coming from a handful of donors at the top end of the wealth spectrum. That means that politicians — Democrats and Republicans alike — are incentivized to prioritize the needs of their wealthiest constituents over everybody else.

Report Inappropriate Content
3
Kudos
435
Views
Valued Social Butterfly
3
Kudos
435
Views

Re: The case against civility

435 Views
Message 54 of 57

The case against civility

 

 

4. Voting rights restrictions


(National Conference of State Legislatures)

Less than 20 years ago, fewer than 15 states had any kind of voter ID law in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. By 2016, however, voter ID laws were the norm, with more than 30 states enacting some sort of identification requirement.

A 2016 study of the effects of the strictest of these laws found that they consistently and significantly depressed turnout across the board — not just among traditionally Democratic groups, but among some Republicans as well.

But the declines in turnout were greatest among Democrats — 7.7 percentage points in general elections, relative to 4.4 points among Republicans. The net effect: “Voter ID laws skew democracy in favor of whites and those on the political right,” the authors concluded.

While the laws are ostensibly intended to prevent “voter fraud,” courts and independent researchers have been nearly unanimous in finding that the problem is virtually nonexistent.

Just recently in Kansas, a federal judge found that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a hard-line voter fraud believer, produced “no credible evidence that a substantial number of noncitizens registered to vote” in that state.

The implication is clear: State legislatures enacting voting restrictions aren't making elections any more secure; they're simply making it easier for Republican majorities to stay in power.

Report Inappropriate Content
3
Kudos
435
Views
Highlighted
Valued Social Butterfly
4
Kudos
429
Views

Re: The case against civility

429 Views
Message 55 of 57

The case against civility 3. Gerrymandered House districts

By design, the absence of proportional representation in the Senate is supposed to be tempered by a proportionally representative U.S. House. But thanks to Republican efforts in 2010 to draw favorable House district lines for themselves, the House is skewing more and more to the right as well.

 

The process is known as gerrymandering, and it's helped House Republicans gain a “seat advantage” relative to their nationwide popular vote in every election since districts were last drawn in 2010. In 2016, for instance, Republican lawmakers won 48 percent of the nationwide House vote but earned 55 percent of the total number of seats, according to data compiled by the Brookings Institution.

A separate analysis, by the Cook Political Report's David Wasserman, similarly found the pro-GOP bias in the House is at a record high.

 

In some heavily gerrymandered states, the Republican advantage is practically insurmountable. In Pennsylvania in 2012, for instance, Republican candidates won less than half of the statewide popular vote but more than two-thirds of the state's 18 seats. That same year in North Carolina, Republicans managed to turn less than half of the vote into over three-quarters of the state's House seats.

 

Democrats gerrymander, too, of course. But in 2010, Republicans did a lot more of it simply because they were in control of more statehouses at the time.

 

Because of numbers like these, political analysts say that in 2018, Democrats would need to win the nationwide popular House vote by anywhere from 7 to 11 percentage points just to have a shot at majority control of the chamber.

Report Inappropriate Content
4
Kudos
429
Views
Valued Social Butterfly
5
Kudos
416
Views

Re: The case against civility

416 Views
Message 56 of 57

The case against civility   2. The Senate

Similar dynamics are increasingly at play in the U.S. Senate. Each state gets two senators regardless of population. With the U.S. population becoming ever more concentrated in urban areas, residents of states with large populations have seen their clout in the Senate diminish, relative to residents of smaller states.

One way to think of this is in terms of the minimum share of the U.S. population you would need to elect a majority of seats in the U.S. Senate. As political scientists Frances E. Lee and Bruce Oppenheimer illustrate in their book “Sizing Up the Senate,” that share has been steadily declining.

In 1810, for instance, you needed well over 30 percent of the population to elect a majority of senators. Today, that share has shrunken to just 17 percent. While this is a theoretical minimum value, it serves to illustrate Lee and Oppenheimer's point: “With a few brief exceptions, the Senate has become more malapportioned, and therefore less representative, over the course of American history,” they write.

Today, California's two senators represent the same number of people as the 44 Senators from the country's 22 least-populous states. Wyoming's 579,000 mostly conservative residents effectively cancel out the Senate representation of 40 million predominantly liberal people in California. That makes it much more difficult for residents of liberal states to enact their preferred policies via the Senate.

Report Inappropriate Content
5
Kudos
416
Views
Valued Social Butterfly
4
Kudos
408
Views
56
Replies

The case against civility

408 Views
Message 57 of 57

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/27/the-case-against-civility-in-five-charts/?utm...

 

The case against civility, in five charts

 

 

Many politicians and media figures have spent several days lamenting the decline of “civility” in politics after a Virginia woman politely asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her restaurant. Mainstream commentators on the right and left have urged the politically disaffected to voice their beliefs at the ballot box and in the courtrooms, rather than in public spaces.

 

The problem, particularly for those on the political left today, is that many of the traditional avenues of political expression have become constrained in recent years. Some of those changes are structural, the tensions bound to arise when a modern urbanized nation is governed by a 200-year-old document written for a rural agrarian society. But other changes have been the result of deliberate efforts by lawmakers to rewrite the rules of political participation to their own advantage.

 

The net effect of these constraints has been to make organizing, donating, volunteering and voting less effective at bringing about change, meaning many activists on the left feel as though they have little choice but to disrupt the system in other ways. People are looking for “uncivil” ways to affect the electoral process because they've seen their ability to influence via “civil” channels reduced.

 

Here's a rundown of some of the institutions and policies that have worked to constrain political expression in recent decades.

 

1. The electoral college

 

Two of the past five presidential elections have been won by a candidate who did not receive a majority of the popular vote. For those on the left, it's particularly frustrating that both of those candidates have been Republicans. A non-incumbent Republican candidate hasn't won the popular vote in a presidential election since George H.W. Bush's victory 1988. For the two decades between 2000 and 2020, Republican presidents will have been in power for 12 years despite winning the popular vote just once during that period: George W. Bush in 2004.

 

As a demonstration of the electoral college's power to skew democracy, in 2016 NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben calculated it would be possible for a candidate to win the election with less than one-quarter of the popular vote.

 

By design, the electoral college undermines the ideal of “one person, one vote.” Each state gets at least three electors, regardless of population. This means that the least-populous states, which tend to be rural and Republican, are overrepresented relative to their share of the total population.

 

A 2016 Washington Post analysis found, for instance, that each of California's 55 electors represents 712,000 people, while each of Wyoming's three electors represents just 195,000 individuals. The net result is that the median Wyoming resident has more sway over a presidential election than one in California.

 

 
Report Inappropriate Content
4
Kudos
408
Views
56
Replies
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Users
Announcements

Open Enrollment: Oct 15-Dec 7, 2019 Find resources to help you decide on the best healthcare insurance plans for you during Open Enrollment season

Top Authors