Pushing Back

There is a growing sense among the people in our community, on the left and the right, that something has gone horribly wrong with our democracy. People are disgusted, and they should be. Moral disgust is the appropriate response to President Trump’s “fine-tuned machine” of chaotic, naked assertions of power against our long established norms of truth and honesty in public discourse (commentary in SLO New Times).

Gerrymandering the Presidency: Why Trump could lose the popular vote in 2020 by 6 percent and still win a second term.

Donald Trump was the clear Electoral College winner in the 2016 election, despite losing the popular vote by a wide margin to Hillary Clinton. Anthony J. McGannCharles Anthony SmithMichael Latner and Alex Keena write that, unless the Supreme Court stops congressional gerrymandering, President Trump can guarantee re-election in 2020 – even if he loses by 6 percent.

We have a standard for judging partisan gerrymandering. The Supreme Court should use it.

In his farewell address to the nation, then-President Barack Obama called for an end to partisan gerrymandering, saying that congressional districts should be drawn “to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.” After his presidency, Obama will work with former attorney general Eric Holder, who will lead the National Democratic Redistricting Initiative, a group established to challenge Republican-drawn district maps in the courts.

One obstacle is that the Supreme Court has yet to recognize a discernible and manageable standard for identifying unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. In our recent book, “Gerrymandering in America,” we show that there is indeed a standard to judge these cases that can be directly derived from the Constitution (Monkey Cage article by Anthony J. McGann, Charles Anthony Smith, Michael Latner and Alex Keena)

Lies, Damned Lies, and The Donald

In the first weekend of its existence, the Trump Regime has laid out its basic position relative to reality: It is against it. Or rather, Trump is making a massive gamble, a bet against reality, if you will. His inaugural speech was historic in its promulgation of lies, my favorite being: “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.”

If the middle class wants to know where its wealth has been redistributed to, it should ask the guy with his name on all of his buildings. President Trump’s bet is to treat America like one of his real estates. He moans about how worthless and run-down the property is, gets it for a steal (fewer votes than the competition), then plans to give it a cheap facelift, talk it up like a great accomplishment, and enrich himself in the process. But even his damned lies about inaugural crowd size, and similar deceptions that he uses to counter the media’s failure to recognize his greatness, pale in comparison to the “alternative facts” he has created to undermine our electoral integrity, the heart of our democracy. (commentary in SLO New Times)

Vouching for Democracy

In his nomination of executive cabinet positions, President-elect Trump, who rallied support from a disaffected working class and railed against the privilege of Washington insiders and financial elites, is trying to appoint what would be among the most elite group of Wall Street financiers and corporate billionaires ever to be placed in government positions in the history of our country (commentary at SLO New Times)

A New Year’s resolution: Exercise your constitutional rights

The U.S. political system is letting itself go. After generations of hard fought expansions toward political equality through the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and numerous landmark Supreme Court decisions, we are now backsliding into the dark waters of dysfunctional institutions, institutions that are supposed to safeguard the most sacred right of a constitutional republic, the right to an equally weighted vote. Our votes quite literally “constitute” our republic, or res publica, “thing of the people.” (commentary at SLO New Times)