Category Archives: Robert Warden

Republican Rigging Part 35: It’s Not Just Russia.

Written by Robert Warden

I feel that it’s time to wrap up this series of posts and start a new one on long term progressive strategy, unless some new form of system rigging comes to my attention. But before I finish, I want to discuss one more topic, that of the globalization of election interference. We all know that the United States has been guilty of political interference in many other nations’ elections and political events. Nobody is trying to excuse this. In fact, perhaps it has gotten to a point where all of us who aren’t power mongers or financial kingpins are political victims of international political intrigue, and the United States bears much of the blame for that. However, from what I have discovered, so does Russia. These two nations are probably the world leaders in election interference. Yet, many other nations are involved, as well.

The feeling that I get is that political power figures and even financial power players have been trying to steer politics globally, with varying degrees of success, and sometimes at cross purposes. For them, it’s a high stakes game that leaves the rest of us out of the process except as voters to be won over or protesters and activists to either be suppressed or applauded. But since the core of the political and financial power structure is self-serving and loathe to cede power even for the sake of progress and the greater good, the power players mostly are working against the common cause of the greater good. Sure, technological progress is welcome, but only for those who pay for it. Progress on social equality is welcomed by some too, but frankly, I find social progress to be hopelessly stunted as long as people lack fair representation in government and continue to be mired in ever increasing economically unfair inequality. Read more

Republican Rigging Part 31: Discouraging Immigration Part 2

Courtesy International Business Times

Written by Robert Warden

Earlier, I wrote about how Republicans have been attempting to deport immigrants or prevent people from coming to the United States in the first place by imposing strict immigration laws.

More recently, another of the Republican Party’s never-ending attempts to rig the system in their favor has developed, which involves reducing the number of natualalized U.S. citizens as well as denying non-citizens from having political rights as residents of the United States. This tactic, as you may have heard, is simply asking residents their nation of citizenship on the 2020 census.

This question, if approved, will work for Republicans in two ways, helping them further tilt the system in their favor. First, the long term consequence, may be to discourage immigration to the United States, as non-citizens will likely feel intimidated by the requirement to reveal citizenship status. This is a long term goal of Republicans, who not only tend to dislike immigrants (based on the fact that immigrant bashers tend to be Republicans), but also know that immigrants tend to vote for Democrats, giving Republicans further incentive to discourage immigration. In the short term, this may not affect voting much at all, but ultimately, it does have a significant effect on voting and politics.

The second reason, is that congressional districting may be based on the number of citizens present if Repubicans get their way, instead of the current practice of basing congressional districts on total population, regardless of citizenship, so that actual districts have approximately equal numbers of residents overall. If Republicans are successful in changing this policy, non-citizens will not count at all in determining congressional districts; only the number of actual U.S. citizens will count. This change would also favor “red states” which usually have fewer non citizens, over “blue states” such as California, where large numbers of non citizens reside.

In addition, as the following article in New York Magazine mentions, research indicates that the inclusion of the citizenship question would cause a considerable undercount of non-citizens in the census (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/trumps-census-change-could-boost-the-gop-for-years-to-come.html). As I also wrote about earlier in this series, there is already a major problem regarding the undercounting of children and minorities in the U.S. census, along with overcounting wealthy, white people who may have more than one residence. To top off the problems created by the use of this citizenship question, it potentially could be used to prevent non citizens from using social services, keeping them exlusively for U.S. citizens — something which as liberals and humanitarians, we need to oppose.

Is the citizenship question in the 2020 census a done deal? Fortunately it is not a done deal. The article in New York Magazine, for instance, mentions that Eric Holder is planning to sue the current administration to keep it from going ahead with the citizenship question in the census. Just from my limited observation, it appears that even somewhat conservative judges are often sympathetic toward civil rights issues and tend to judge against attempts to restrict civil rights. Thus, there may be a good chance of stopping this latest undue influence attempt by the GOP. We need to oppose this egregious and discriminatory example of America First/Americans First, and support legal efforts to stop this census question from going forward. I believe our chances of winning this battle are good, especially with the key allies such as former Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder on our side — but it’s not going to be easy and by no means is it a sure win for our side.

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Republican Rigging Part 30: The Party of the Wealthy

You know who I am talking about here, and it’s definitely not the Democrats or the Green Party. There is an aspect of campaign finance which has been largely ignored in recent years, probably due to the focus on Superpacs and “dark money.” However, even if those were eliminated, Republicans would still have an unfair advantage. The reason is that their individual donors tend to be richer those Democratic donors, and thus donate larger sums of money.

The best article that I found explaining this is one by Philip Bump in the Washington Post, from 2014. (I am certain that his conclusions are just as valid now as they were then.) He begins by mentioning that both parties rely mostly on donations from corporate interests and wealthy individuals, but then he said the comparison ends there. Bump includes several graphs in his article. The key one for the present purpose is the last one, which shows the average amount of individual donations to Republicans versus Democrats. If I am reading this correctly, the average donation to Democrats is barely measureable on the graph (probably $27 LOL). However, the average Republican individual donor, donates about $90,000 dollars! I presume that number is skewed by certain very wealthy individuals, but nonetheless it is a HUGE difference. Because of this massive difference, Republicans have been raising much more money overall from individual donors than did Democrats, even though there are far more people who donate to Democrats. Read more

Republican Rigging Part 29: Superpacs

Written by Robert Warden

The term “Superpac” sounds to me like something out of a video game, but it’s not. It’s something out of a political influence game instead — a way of raising larger sums of campaign money than would otherwise be possible. To my surprise, the existence of Superpacs according to Open Secrets, is traced to a Supreme Court decision in July, 2010 called Speechnow.Org versus Federal Election Commission, not to Citizens United. The thread of Supreme Court decisions giving more power to corporations and big money interests in influencing elections is much longer than I had realized. Moreover, Superpac money, as it turns out, can also be “Dark Money,” even though Superpacs are required to disclose their sources. As it turns out, some of their sources (which they disclose), may themselves be Dark Money sources, as the following article by the Sunlight Foundation explains (https://sunlightfoundation.com/2015/10/30/the-difference-between-super-pacs-and-dark-money-groups/). Read more

Republican Rigging Part 28: “Dark Money”

Courtesy Capital Research Center

Written by Robert Warden

Two of the major consequences of the Citizens United decision have been the growth of “dark money” funding political campaigns, and superpacs.

Of the two, “dark money” causes the greatest lack of transparency in election funding, although I discovered that the amount of “dark money” is far less than is superpac money. Nonetheless, “dark money” is a very troubling phenomenon.

According to people who account for political monies, Republicans have benefitted from far more “dark money” contributions than have Democrats, as I believe was intended by the Supreme Court when they made the Citizens United ruling. (Although the source of such money has not been disclosed, the amounts of such contributions are supposed to be disclosed.) Moreover, the amount of “dark money” spent during each election cycle has been rapidly increasing (http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2015/nov/05/tammy-baldwin/ten-times-more-dark-money-has-been-spent-2016-elec/). Read more

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