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Steven Rosenfeld covers democracy issues for AlterNet. He is a longtime print and broadcast journalist and has reported for National Public Radio, Monitor Radio, Marketplace, TomPaine.com and many newspapers. He has written and co-authored three books on voting rights since 2004, including Count My Vote (AlterNet Books, 2008). His next book profiles how Ben Bril, the most famous Dutch Jewish boxer, kept his family alive in WW2.
Sorry, Russia Is Not the Biggest Threat to Our Elections -- Facebook and YouTube Are
In 2016, Russia's biggest impact was through propaganda, spreading messaging that pushed American voters' hot buttons, not tinkering with the machinery. That's why this week's microcosm, in which election hacking conspiracies eclipsed real news was noteworthy. It is a mirror of what's happening in our political and media culture, and points to the shape of things to come.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018(1 comments)
It Won't Be Easy as the GOP Hoped to Hijack Democracy in Pennsylvania
The Democrats' chances of regaining a House majority received a boost Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling ordering its legislature to immediately revise its congressional map for 2018 elections--or else the state high court would.
Monday, February 5, 2018(10 comments)
Bernie Supporters Betrayed by DNC (...Surprised?)
Berniecrats may feel they need to keep up the pressure throughout the rest of the DNC reform process, no matter how long it takes. But at the very least, it appears their expectation of fast action is only likely to cause more strife. This pressure and posturing is pointing toward more confrontation between the Berniecrats and the political party they are seeking to change.
Friday, February 2, 2018
The Supreme Court Is About to Make Rulings That Will Shape Elections for Years to Come
If the Court rules that Ohio's partisan voter purges are legal, the law that sought to expand voter registration to motor vehicle agencies, state offices and military recruiters -- you can expect the GOP in states like Georgia, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina and elsewhere to copy Ohio's template and selectively purge their voter rolls before this fall's elections.
Powerhouse Commission Ponders Reeling In Facebook and Google Before It's Too Late
Facebook and Google are going to have to become more transparent or face even greater backlash. Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would soon ask its 2 billion users to rate the trustworthiness of the media on their news feeds. That may help identify more and less trustworthy news sources according to each user's values.
Why the 25th Amendment Route for Dumping Trump Will Probably Remain a Fantasy
There may be no greater example of a political party that's eager to put partisan gain before country than today's Republicans. In the executive branch, Vice President Mike Pence constantly fawns over Trump, and Cabinet meetings frequently begin with recitations by Trump's appointees telling the president how wonderful he is. Would these sycophants somehow secretly conspire to fire the boss?
Friday, January 5, 2018
Trump's Vote Suppression Team Is Doing GOP's Dirty Work
Kobach and his ilk will do anything to subvert the process of voting for Democrats and non-whites. They've burrowed into the nooks and crannies of the law and process to exploit ambiguities and contradictions. Just watch what they will try to do in the months ahead--not just with baseless voter fraud accusation, but with screening for citizenship.
The #1 Reason the GOP Tax Plan Is an Economic Catastrophe: It Will Send Health Care Costs Through the Roof
The tax bill's changes in the earned income tax credit will divert an estimated $19 billion from poor families. The bill's new requirement that families seeking child tax credit provide a Social Security number will translate into higher taxes for undocumented immigrants, who work and pay taxes but lack that paperwork. The GOP bill is poised to cause real pain and suffering to people who struggle to pay for health care.
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Another Positive Factor From the Alabama Election That Republicans Don't Want to Talk About
There's one feature of the voting in this week's Alabama special election that elected Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate that Republicans aren't talking about -- tens of thousands of white voters who were reliable Republicans voted for the Democrat. Alabama's special election shows that red-state America is not as monolithic as Republicans would have you believe.
Why Can't Alabama Republicans Admit Doug Jones Won Fair and Square?
Roy Moore cannot get a recount under state law, a growing chorus of legal scholars said Wednesday, despite what the state's top election official and the Senate candidate himself might have you believe. (Moore told rallygoers Tuesday night that the race is "not over," and that it will "take some time.")
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Progressives and Berniecrats Push Hard to End or Curtail the Superdelegate System
The commission could reduce the number of superdelegates by not making members of Congress automatic delegates. It could require the superdelegates not endorse any candidate until after the final nominating season contest. With 2018's elections looming, it remains to be seen if the Unity Reform Commission will live up to its name.
The Roy Moore Debacle in Alabama Is a Showcase of the GOP's Playbook to Rig Elections
The strange saga of Roy Moore's senatorial bid in Alabama has made one thing clear: Nobody should doubt that the GOP is the modern political party most eager to rig election results -- even when the target is a fellow Republican. The GOP has once again seized the spotlight as the party most enthusiastic about rigging elections -- or doing whatever it takes to get the outcome they seek.
Political Panic Is Brewing in the Republican Party After the Democratic Sweeps on Tuesday
What's apparent to Republicans who haven't drunk the Trump-Breitbart-Fox News Kool-Aid is that Trumpism and following the party's white nationalist fringe is a recipe for sending the GOP into the wilderness. Trump-style extremism may help copycats win low-turnout primaries to get onto fall ballots. But it's increasingly apparent that such extremism is a formula for losing in the general election.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
The Far Right Fantasized About a Gun Battle With Antifa, But Got Another Mass Killer in Gun-Crazy Texas
While healthier and saner people grimace over the country's latest mass shooting, and wring their hands over what we all know will be no meaningful federal response via new gun controls, we have to acknowledge what's happening in America. Violence is growing in our cultural and political vocabulary. News reports keep battering the public with one crisis after another. What's missing? Restraint. Voices of reason.
We Have Heard This Before: Bannon and Trump Want to Make More War to End War
Bannon would have Americans believe that Trump is antiwar. But Trump's solutions to seemingly intractable conflicts has been to unleash more military muscle to win, which Bannon said has been validated by the recent capture of two ISIS urban strongholds: its capital in Syria and oil-producing hub in Iraq.
Bannon Is Trying to Take Over the GOP Within One Election: Can He Pull It Off?
The Republican Party's white nationalist, anti-Washington wing led by Steve Bannon is hoping to turn 2018's Senate elections into a GOP civil war in which right-wingers oust Republican incumbents deemed insufficiently loyal and unseat Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader. The threat posed by Bannon and his allies and funders is very serious.
The GOP Is Plowing Ahead with an Audacious Effort to Hijack the Vote and Rig Elections
The GOP is willing to rewrite the rules when it comes to the democratic process, if that's what it takes for them to win. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wants to end a process where home-state senators must approve any federal judicial nominee in their state. Blue state senators have been opposing Trump's nomination of right-wingers to lifetime appointments.
Complaining About Hillary's Campaign Book Is a Huge Waste of the Progressive Movement's Time
If Democrats are going to get past the Hillary-Bernie divide, it's not just a matter of looking ahead, as Sanders counseled. The party has to create a path where its factions can fairly compete for top posts and nominations, win and lose alternatively, and go on to fight another day. That hasn't happened. Instead, as seen in most Clinton book coverage, old wounds are resurfacing.
Sunday, August 27, 2017
White Supremacists Run, Hide and Play Media Games in San Francisco
The Patriot Prayer provocateurs are pushing the limits of these time, place and mannner thresholds. They are prompting the city police to track them, close city parks, divert bus and transit lines, and monitor counter-protests. This is not a game, not after the white power-sparked violence in Charlottesville. Somehow, they think their antics are patriotic and that any ensuing chaos left in their wake is not their fault.
Saturday, August 19, 2017(3 comments)
Donald Trump Kicked a Hornet's Nest When He Fired Steve Bannon
Trump's firing of Bannon is likely to haunt the White House. As ex-President Lyndon Johnson famously said of infamous FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, "It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in." Bannon and his ilk are not about to allow the GOP to go quietly into the political mainstream.
Trump Is on a Mission to Convert White Resentment into a Federal Agency
Trump's White House is putting white power sympathizers in top positions across the government. He's ignoring history and rolling back the clock by rekindling the same post-Civil War sentiments as when whites lashed out at newly freed blacks and immigrants, declaring the federal government and law was meant to serve white America before all others.
Friday, July 28, 2017(2 comments)
Newt Gingrich Plays Goebbels for Trump in Insane Attack on Justice Department and Mueller
While many political observers have said it is only a matter of time before Trump fires Mueller, what's new and different with Gingrich's latest line of attack is that he's not merely angling to be Trump's top propaganda hitman; he's willing to smear and discredit the Justice Department to protect Trump's presidency, as if Trump's team is above the law.
50 Shockingly Extreme Right-Wing Proposals in the 2016 Republican Party Platform
The GOP 2016 platform would make Christianity the official American religion, English the official American language, replace sex education with abstinence-only advice for teenagers, privatize almost all areas of federal services, cut taxes and regulations for the rich and titans of industry, and impose a belligerent foreign policy and military build-up.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Phoenix Election Chief Blames Voters and Laws for Super Long Lines on Tuesday
Voting in America -- as seen in Phoenix and across Arizona on Tuesday -- has been made unnecessarily complicated for a variety of reasons, many of which are beyond the ability of local election officials to control or predict. That undemocratic reality occasionally surfaces on election days when the last thing a candidate expects is that polling places are unprepared for high turnout.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Clinton Smear Book Author's Past Revealed: He Was Ghostwriter for Jesse Helms
That right-wing propagandist Peter Schweizer has a new book slamming the Clintons is no surprise. But in the weeks since the New York Times and Washington Post used a pre-release copy as the basis for investigative reports criticizing the Clintons while Hillary was Secretary of State, Schweizer's publisher has issued retractions, including revising the e-book version.
More Unfinished 2008 Election Business: Verifiable Vote Counts
Lawyers for the Franken and Coleman campaigns may posture in the press about sloppy ballots, but there is little doubt that the Minnesota recount has integrity and voters will accept the final outcome. In Georgia, in contrast, there is no corollary. It is one of six states where all voters use paperless computers with no means of auditing the vote.
Sunday, November 30, 2008(5 comments)
Hard Lesson for Franken: Not All Votes Get Counted
The Franken campaign said it would not appeal the board's decision. That means that the 3,700 challenged ballots will now play a prominent role in deciding if Franken will become the Senate's 59th Democratic member. The Canvassing Board also told both campaigns to stop frivolously challenging ballots. Local election boards will now review those ballots.
Thursday, November 20, 2008(1 comments)
See (Literally) Why Al Franken is Gaining Votes
The Minnesota recount shows exactly why most voting rights advocates conclude that hand-marked paper ballots are the best way to vote. Unlike Georgia, where the final unresolved U.S. Senate seat will be selected in a runoff election in early December and the public uses paperless voting machines, in Minnesota representatives of both parties can clearly see the voters' intent in a deliberative but accurate recount.
Big Setbacks for GOP Voter Suppression Efforts in Swing States
GOP efforts to stop thousands of voters from casting meaningful ballots in 2008 because their registration information does not match government databases with high error rates was set back by legal rulings in WI, OH and NV on Thursday.While the developments in those three states may bode well for accommodating voters in a high-turnout election,the fights concerning whose votes will count on Election Day are far from over.