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Old January 24th, 2018, 11:55 AM   #1
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American democracy is failing. The courts are finally starting to notice.

American Democracy is Failing. The Courts Are Finally Starting to Notice.


here is something profoundly wrong with the United States of America’s system of government.

For proof, briefly take stock of the last ten years in American democracy, in which a combination of factors — the filibuster, the way we draw legislative districts, Senate malapportionment, and the Electoral College — converged to rob American voters of a meaningful ability to choose their own leaders.


*** In 2008, President Obama won a resounding victory, defeating Republican Sen. John McCain by nearly 10 million votes. Democrats also won commanding majorities in both houses of Congress, with Democrats holding 60 seats in the Senate at their peak. Nevertheless, the rump Republican minority was able to wield the filibuster to block many Democratic priorities altogether, and to effectively force Democrats to water down major legislation such as the stimulus and the Affordable Care Act, because the most conservative Democrats’ (and, sometimes, even some Republicans’) votes were needed to pass such bills.

*** In 2010, in part because the watered down stimulus did not juice up the economy enough to keep the incumbent party from being blamed for the ongoing effects of the recession, Democrats took a bath at the polls. Though Democrats recovered their standing with the voters in the very next federal election, their deep losses in 2010 had profound consequences because they gave Republicans control of many crucial state legislatures and governors’ mansions during a redistricting cycle. Republicans drew state legislative and congressional maps that were so aggressively gerrymandered that, in some states, Republicans won over 70 percent of the congressional seats even in election years where Democrats won the popular vote.

*** In 2012, President Obama won reelection. Democratic U.S. House candidates also won nearly 1.4 million more votes nationwide than their Republican counterparts. Yet, in large part due to gerrymandering, Republicans enjoyed a commanding 233-200 majority in the House at the beginning of the 113th Congress. This undemocratic result not only prevented Democrats from enacting legislation that could have fired up their base, stimulated the economy, and improved their party’s chances of winning the 2014 and 2016 elections, it also gave Republicans the leverage to shut down the government in 2013.

*** Meanwhile, Republicans enjoyed even bigger windfalls in state-level races. In 2012, for example, Republican candidates for the state assembly received “48.6% of the two-party statewide vote share for Assembly candidates and won 60 of the 99 seats in the Wisconsin Assembly.” Two years later, they “received 52% of the two-party statewide vote share and won 63 assembly seats.” More recently, in the 2017 election that resoundingly elected Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Democratic candidates of the House of Delegates outperformed Republican candidates by more than 9 percentage points. Yet Republicans still enjoy a narrow 51-49 majority.

*** In February of 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died. Scalia’s body was barely cold before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he would not allow anyone nominated by President Obama to be confirmed. Senate Republicans then successfully held the seat open for a year until Donald Trump could fill it. McConnell was able to pull this stunt because Republicans enjoyed a 54-46 majority in the Senate in 2016. They held this majority, moreover, due to the fact that the Senate is so egregiously malapportioned that its membership bears no resemblance to the nation’s partisan preferences. The 46 Democrats in the Senate in 2016 represented more than 20 million more people than the 54 Republicans.

*** More than a year after Scalia’s death, Senate Republicans confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. The 45 senators who opposed Gorsuch’s confirmation represent more than 25 million more people than the senators who supported him.

*** And then there is the ultimate insult to the American voter. Donald Trump occupies the White House, despite the fact that he received 2,864,974 fewer votes than his Democratic opponent.

The government of the United States no longer derives its powers from the consent of the governed. And by the time voters head to the polls in November to elect a new Congress, America will have existed in this state of profound undemocracy for nearly a decade.

There is a gleam of hope amid this wreckage. The courts appear to be awakening to the problem of gerrymandering — and are beginning to do something about it.

Just this week, Pennsylvania’s state supreme court struck down that state’s gerrymandered congressional maps and ordered new maps to be drawn by for the 2018 elections. A federal court struck down North Carolina’s similarly gerrymandered congressional maps earlier this month. A majority of the Supreme Court appears poised to strike down Wisconsin’s state assembly maps — potentially marking the first time the Supreme Court declared a partisan gerrymander unconstitutional.

A majority of the Supreme Court appears ready to strike down a partisan gerrymander

And then there was hope.

Meanwhile, eleven states have signed onto the National Popular Vote Compact, an agreement that seeks to functionally eliminate the Electoral College once a bloc of states that control at least 270 electoral votes have signed onto it. Had this agreement been in effect in 2016, President Hillary Clinton would be in the White House and Justice Merrick Garland would likely be the swing vote on the Supreme Court.

Despite these rays of hope, American democracy still faces considerable obstacles, some of which will be difficult to overcome without a constitutional convention.

For one thing, while gerrymandering accounts for some of the GOP’s unfair advantages in legislative races, it does not account for all of it. Because Democrats tend to cluster together in cities, while Republicans tend to be more spread out over suburbs and rural areas, legislative maps made up of compact districts that do not cut across communities will tend to advantage Republicans. Courts could potentially require more competitive districts to be drawn — districts which combine urban, suburban, and rural voters — but there is no guarantee that they will do so. The recent decision out of Pennsylvania does the opposite.

The National Popular Vote Compact, meanwhile, is untested and relies on an innovative solution to overcome the Electoral College. That means that the Supreme Court has not yet weighed in on its validity. Given the Supreme Court’s increasingly partisan cast, it’s possible that the Republican-dominated Court would game a challenge to this compact, upholding it if a Republican wins the national popular vote and striking it down if a Democrat does.

And then there is in the single most frightening projection facing both large-D Democrats and small-d democrats in the United States. By 2040, according to Dean David Birdsell of the school of public and international affairs at Baruch College, “about 70% of Americans are expected to live in the 15 largest states.” That means that 70 percent of Americans “will have only 30 senators representing them, while the remaining 30% of Americans will have 70 senators representing them.”

More, and Conclusion:https://thinkprogress.org/democracys...-fca7ff06f064/
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Old January 24th, 2018, 12:04 PM   #2
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LOL @tristanrobin. The courts are the last place in which you will find this "democracy".

Doing away with the EC is a sure guarantee of civil war, the break up of the nation. It would guarantee California always being the deciding factor and end what remains of the Republic. Because that is what we are, a Republic.
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Last edited by Updike; January 24th, 2018 at 12:07 PM.
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Old January 24th, 2018, 01:35 PM   #3
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A republic who thinks that an address should decide who is President of the Republic?

Not the number of people who support a candidate - but their address?

How many times do you think this is going to happen before your hypothetical civil war and break up of the nation comes to pass?
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Old January 25th, 2018, 07:19 AM   #4
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People are too stupid for democracy. Universal Sufferage was a mistake.
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Old January 25th, 2018, 07:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tristanrobin View Post
American Democracy is Failing. The Courts Are Finally Starting to Notice.


here is something profoundly wrong with the United States of America’s system of government.

For proof, briefly take stock of the last ten years in American democracy, in which a combination of factors — the filibuster, the way we draw legislative districts, Senate malapportionment, and the Electoral College — converged to rob American voters of a meaningful ability to choose their own leaders.


*** In 2008, President Obama won a resounding victory, defeating Republican Sen. John McCain by nearly 10 million votes. Democrats also won commanding majorities in both houses of Congress, with Democrats holding 60 seats in the Senate at their peak. Nevertheless, the rump Republican minority was able to wield the filibuster to block many Democratic priorities altogether, and to effectively force Democrats to water down major legislation such as the stimulus and the Affordable Care Act, because the most conservative Democrats’ (and, sometimes, even some Republicans’) votes were needed to pass such bills.

*** In 2010, in part because the watered down stimulus did not juice up the economy enough to keep the incumbent party from being blamed for the ongoing effects of the recession, Democrats took a bath at the polls. Though Democrats recovered their standing with the voters in the very next federal election, their deep losses in 2010 had profound consequences because they gave Republicans control of many crucial state legislatures and governors’ mansions during a redistricting cycle. Republicans drew state legislative and congressional maps that were so aggressively gerrymandered that, in some states, Republicans won over 70 percent of the congressional seats even in election years where Democrats won the popular vote.

*** In 2012, President Obama won reelection. Democratic U.S. House candidates also won nearly 1.4 million more votes nationwide than their Republican counterparts. Yet, in large part due to gerrymandering, Republicans enjoyed a commanding 233-200 majority in the House at the beginning of the 113th Congress. This undemocratic result not only prevented Democrats from enacting legislation that could have fired up their base, stimulated the economy, and improved their party’s chances of winning the 2014 and 2016 elections, it also gave Republicans the leverage to shut down the government in 2013.

*** Meanwhile, Republicans enjoyed even bigger windfalls in state-level races. In 2012, for example, Republican candidates for the state assembly received “48.6% of the two-party statewide vote share for Assembly candidates and won 60 of the 99 seats in the Wisconsin Assembly.” Two years later, they “received 52% of the two-party statewide vote share and won 63 assembly seats.” More recently, in the 2017 election that resoundingly elected Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Democratic candidates of the House of Delegates outperformed Republican candidates by more than 9 percentage points. Yet Republicans still enjoy a narrow 51-49 majority.

*** In February of 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died. Scalia’s body was barely cold before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he would not allow anyone nominated by President Obama to be confirmed. Senate Republicans then successfully held the seat open for a year until Donald Trump could fill it. McConnell was able to pull this stunt because Republicans enjoyed a 54-46 majority in the Senate in 2016. They held this majority, moreover, due to the fact that the Senate is so egregiously malapportioned that its membership bears no resemblance to the nation’s partisan preferences. The 46 Democrats in the Senate in 2016 represented more than 20 million more people than the 54 Republicans.

*** More than a year after Scalia’s death, Senate Republicans confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. The 45 senators who opposed Gorsuch’s confirmation represent more than 25 million more people than the senators who supported him.

*** And then there is the ultimate insult to the American voter. Donald Trump occupies the White House, despite the fact that he received 2,864,974 fewer votes than his Democratic opponent.

The government of the United States no longer derives its powers from the consent of the governed. And by the time voters head to the polls in November to elect a new Congress, America will have existed in this state of profound undemocracy for nearly a decade.

There is a gleam of hope amid this wreckage. The courts appear to be awakening to the problem of gerrymandering — and are beginning to do something about it.

Just this week, Pennsylvania’s state supreme court struck down that state’s gerrymandered congressional maps and ordered new maps to be drawn by for the 2018 elections. A federal court struck down North Carolina’s similarly gerrymandered congressional maps earlier this month. A majority of the Supreme Court appears poised to strike down Wisconsin’s state assembly maps — potentially marking the first time the Supreme Court declared a partisan gerrymander unconstitutional.

A majority of the Supreme Court appears ready to strike down a partisan gerrymander

And then there was hope.

Meanwhile, eleven states have signed onto the National Popular Vote Compact, an agreement that seeks to functionally eliminate the Electoral College once a bloc of states that control at least 270 electoral votes have signed onto it. Had this agreement been in effect in 2016, President Hillary Clinton would be in the White House and Justice Merrick Garland would likely be the swing vote on the Supreme Court.

Despite these rays of hope, American democracy still faces considerable obstacles, some of which will be difficult to overcome without a constitutional convention.

For one thing, while gerrymandering accounts for some of the GOP’s unfair advantages in legislative races, it does not account for all of it. Because Democrats tend to cluster together in cities, while Republicans tend to be more spread out over suburbs and rural areas, legislative maps made up of compact districts that do not cut across communities will tend to advantage Republicans. Courts could potentially require more competitive districts to be drawn — districts which combine urban, suburban, and rural voters — but there is no guarantee that they will do so. The recent decision out of Pennsylvania does the opposite.

The National Popular Vote Compact, meanwhile, is untested and relies on an innovative solution to overcome the Electoral College. That means that the Supreme Court has not yet weighed in on its validity. Given the Supreme Court’s increasingly partisan cast, it’s possible that the Republican-dominated Court would game a challenge to this compact, upholding it if a Republican wins the national popular vote and striking it down if a Democrat does.

And then there is in the single most frightening projection facing both large-D Democrats and small-d democrats in the United States. By 2040, according to Dean David Birdsell of the school of public and international affairs at Baruch College, “about 70% of Americans are expected to live in the 15 largest states.” That means that 70 percent of Americans “will have only 30 senators representing them, while the remaining 30% of Americans will have 70 senators representing them.”

More, and Conclusion:https://thinkprogress.org/democracys...-fca7ff06f064/
Trisitan I don't believe you posted this.

The only thing failing is you in Civics

the Pledge to the Flag is not

I pledge allegiance to the Flag and to the DEMOCRACY for which it stands.
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Old January 25th, 2018, 07:26 AM   #6
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The courts noticed this...

President Obama violated the Constitution MORE than any Modern President.

Obama was the most overturned President in Modern history

https://www.cato.org/publications/co...dern-president
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Old January 25th, 2018, 07:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Updike View Post
LOL @tristanrobin. The courts are the last place in which you will find this "democracy".

Doing away with the EC is a sure guarantee of civil war, the break up of the nation. It would guarantee California always being the deciding factor and end what remains of the Republic. Because that is what we are, a Republic.
We have never gone to war to defend a republic. Our wars have always been about defending democracy. However, because democracy is an ideology only when it is defended in the classroom, is it defended and we stopped doing that in 1958 with the passage of the National Defense Education Act. Now we are in deep trouble. The only way to right this wrong is to return to education for democracy and then wait for years for the education to take effect.

Our republic is the form of government we chose to use as opposed to direct democracy. See the difference? As some people are Christians because they learn to be Christians, we were a democracy because we learned to that ideology. With an understanding of that ideology, we gave our government the form of a republic, that is a representative democracy rather than direct democracy.

I AM CURIOUS, DO DEMOCRATS ALSO ARGUE THE US IS NOT A DEMOCRACY OR IS IT ONLY REPUBLICANS WHO DO THAT?
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Last edited by Athena; January 25th, 2018 at 08:04 AM.
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Old January 25th, 2018, 08:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TNVolunteer73 View Post
The courts noticed this...

President Obama violated the Constitution MORE than any Modern President.

Obama was the most overturned President in Modern history

https://www.cato.org/publications/co...dern-president
Well yes, the Republicans did everything they could to oppose Obama and some of us believe their whole intent was to oppose Obama, no matter what. Why should I believe the wrong wasn't the Republicans?
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Old January 25th, 2018, 09:56 AM   #9
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Meanwhile, eleven states have signed onto the National Popular Vote Compact, an agreement that seeks to functionally eliminate the Electoral College once a bloc of states that control at least 270 electoral votes have signed onto it. Had this agreement been in effect in 2016, President Hillary Clinton would be in the White House and Justice Merrick Garland would likely be the swing vote on the Supreme Court.


Quote:

And then there is in the single most frightening projection facing both large-D Democrats and small-d democrats in the United States. By 2040, according to Dean David Birdsell of the school of public and international affairs at Baruch College, “about 70% of Americans are expected to live in the 15 largest states.” That means that 70 percent of Americans “will have only 30 senators representing them, while the remaining 30% of Americans will have 70 senators representing them.”


Sieg heil comrade, sieg heil
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Old January 25th, 2018, 10:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Athena View Post
We have never gone to war to defend a republic. Our wars have always been about defending democracy. However, because democracy is an ideology only when it is defended in the classroom, is it defended and we stopped doing that in 1958 with the passage of the National Defense Education Act. Now we are in deep trouble. The only way to right this wrong is to return to education for democracy and then wait for years for the education to take effect.

Our republic is the form of government we chose to use as opposed to direct democracy. See the difference? As some people are Christians because they learn to be Christians, we were a democracy because we learned to that ideology. With an understanding of that ideology, we gave our government the form of a republic, that is a representative democracy rather than direct democracy.

I AM CURIOUS, DO DEMOCRATS ALSO ARGUE THE US IS NOT A DEMOCRACY OR IS IT ONLY REPUBLICANS WHO DO THAT?
Not so.



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I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.
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