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    "It's time to fight dirty": a discussion on reforming the US political system
    • nytimes.com/2018/05/17/books/r…ht-dirty-david-faris.html

      I just finished reading this the other night, it details what actions Democrats should undertake if they successfully retake all branches of government in 2020 or 2022, such as granting statehood to DC, PR, in addition to splitting California into several constituent states to gain more representation in the Senate; adding seats to the supreme court to blunt the current conservative majority; and adding seats to the House to make it more representative of the US public (decreasing the number of constituents represented by a given representative) and implementing a system of ranked-choice voting.

      While I consider myself a progressive and think Democrats should pursue a progressive agenda of single-payer healthcare, strengthening unions, empowering minorities, and reforming campaign finance laws via the article V process in the US constitution, I recognize that all of those things either will never come to pass or will be quickly undone once out of power, unless Democrats commit to changing a system that's both intentionally and in some ways unintentionally rigged in favor of Republicans. I think many people will look at the idea of packing the supreme court and creating constituent states as a blatant power grab, but when you have one political party wholly committed to the destruction of political norms and procedure what other option do you have? After the theft of the Garland supreme court seat we are indeed in a "procedural war" with the GOP and while neoliberalism is 110% the wrong path, we're lying to ourselves if we think pursuing progressive policy agendas are enough. The reality is that there is a mismatch between voters and representation in government: the Senate greatly favors small states where fewer people live and gives Republicans an unfair edge, and there's of course the electoral college where a similar feature plays out.

      I'm curious what others have to say about this. The idea of splitting California in particular feels risky (the same idea has been floated by libertarians in Silicon Valley as a means to keep more of their money in the Bay Area and effectively leave the poorer parts of California out to dry) and would have to be done very carefully, but otherwise I don't have an issue with the rest of it.
    • Interesting article. It brought up some good ideas as well as some concerning ideas.

      Here are some things I believe should be a priority among the democrats:

      • Get rid of gerrymandering
      • Increase the number of representatives
      • Making voting more easier and accessible
      • Add DC to Virginia instead of making it a separate state. This may piss off the GOP less but ultimately, the citizens of DC get representation and this will help the democrats in the House.
      Here are things the democrats should stay away from:

      • Splitting California into separate states -- this will be a disaster since you will see citizens of Oregon and Illinois wanting to do the same thing. It's unfortunate that the senate is in favor of the GOP but splitting California into multiple states will only make things worse.
      • SCOTUS - I struggle with this issue so much. I also think stacking SCOTUS will cause great turmoil as well but I'm also bothered by the fact that 4 of the last 6 justices have been appointed by Presidents that lost the popular vote. I don't like the idea of the Senate having so much power in crafting a branch of the Federal government. I think the most ideal way to address this concern is to give justices term limits. That way, we don't have to worry about Reagan justices who support trickle down economics affect finance laws decades later and that way we don't have to worry about Trump, a President that colluded with a foreign power, affecting the political landscape for years to come.


      One of the most promising things to have happened in the midterms was that 3 deep red states expanded Medicaid. I would had never expected that to happen years ago.

      While I don't like the idea of pushing progressive policies through propositions, that may be the answer in red states for now. It's obvious a lot of people actually support progressive policies but Fox News has tainted the word "democrat" for decades now.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by HeroOfTime5 ().

    • DC residents overwhelmingly oppose retrocession into Virginia/Maryland and are clearly in favor of statehood, I'm not at all in favor of retrocession - DC residents should have the right of self-determination and not have their status predicated on whatever appeases Republicans. They should be entitled to two senators as they have more people within their district than in all of Wyoming or Vermont.

      I'm not against the idea of establishing term limits on SCOTUS appointees, but stacking the supreme court (or even just the threat of doing so) sends a clear message to Republicans that they can't simply disregard political norms and procedures without consequence. They're not interested in governing and their reason for existence at this point is to destroy our system of government, working with them in most capacities (even to produce the most non-controversial bipartisan legislation) just legitimizes them and is not in the best interest of the country.



      The post was edited 1 time, last by Bowsette ().

    • I agree with most of this, but I think the danger in stacking the supreme court, etc., while beneficial, also sets the (what I would consider dangerous) precedent of being able to drastically change government to ensure your own party's political power. While it obviously would be great in the short term and allow us to do a lot, what happens if the Republicans regain majority in nearly all of government? They can do even more drastic shit, which will mean if we regain power we'll have to escalate even further, and so on and so forth until inevitably someone makes a grab for power at which point our systems will be so meaningless and easily overridden that there will be no way of stopping them.

      I'm all for government reform, but it doesn't seem to me as if going over the heads of half the country is the way to do it.

      On the other hand of course, it's naive to think that the Republicans are going to cooperate on anything, and failing to reform when we have the chance just keeps them in power longer.

      At the end of the day, I think that all of these actions, including the ones I said were dangerous, are necessary. The Republicans have little regard for the system to begin with, but I don't think that these reforms will change that. It's a very tough issue. (Please tell me if I said anything incorrect here)
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    • Proposing to split California into constituent states is flawed, both for the reasons already outlined and additionally because it still assumes that we should play within the rules of how our government is currently structured. If we do so we won't break the cycle, we'll just buy a little more room to squeak through until a Donald Trump figure whose brain isn't melting enters the public conscience.

      Instead of trying to to cover more ground in the Senate, the Senate should be ruled out altogether. Wyoming and North Dakota, two of the least populous states in the country, have insane voting power compared to New York and California, two of the most populous states. A select group of a hundred people essentially get to decide whether millions live or die. Not acceptable. If by some miracle the Dems walk away with the presidency and Congressional supermajorities in 2020 or 2022 they should move forward to dissolve the Senate - potentially through legislation but more likely through an executive order. From there, give the House more representatives and let representatives of the less populous states protect the interests of their states via coalition.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Hazel ().

    • The biggest thing that needs to happen is sweeping electoral victories for Democrats. Without super-majorities at the federal level AND state level, the legislation that needs to be passed to ensure future equitable outcomes simply will not be passed.
      Some of this will require Constitutional Amendments and you need a ton of agreement across both of those levels of government to achieve that. Some of it will require state action specifically. We cannot get done what needs to be done with enough Republicans in office to stop it.

      The Senate will continue to be (and was designed to be) a conservative force in the government without radical changes. I think DC should absolutely be given statehood, not for political reasons, but because its the right thing to do. Puerto Rico and the other remaining US territories should have the opportunity to determine what level of participation in the US they would like to have, whether or not that mean statehood.
      ...but I don't think granting statehood or breaking up current states solves the fundamental problem of the Senate and I'm not wholly sure what should be done.
      I'm not sure abolishing it is the best answer, but it is certainly the least likely to happen...regardless of whom is in power.

      Abolishing the electoral college and allowing direct voting for the President should be a huge priority. The electoral college further amplifies the power the Senate grants to small states AND in the sense of its congregation as a body has clearly never lived up to its promise. Get rid of it.

      Nation-wide rank-choice voting is a good start, though it will be difficult to do this without the state-level reps I mentioned earlier.
      Further laws enshrining voting rights is a must. Automatic voter registration is a no-brainer. These are things we should be able to do with a super-majority.
      We need non-partisan committees drawing congressional districts....but we also need guidelines for how to draw those and there are a huge number of thorny and difficult questions we need to answer about how to equitably draw districts. Starting with the non-partisan bit is the sort of baby step in the right direction we need.

      I'm open to unconventional ideas to achieve some of this, but my biggest issue with many of these proposals (the Supreme Court packing in particular) is that these are not actual solutions to the problems we are now facing which are fundamentally structural. I think your quote about it kind of belies the fact that it is not a solution in itself:

      Bowsette wrote:

      I'm not against the idea of establishing term limits on SCOTUS appointees, but stacking the supreme court (or even just the threat of doing so) sends a clear message to Republicans that they can't simply disregard political norms and procedures without consequence.

      And I'm sorry but this is a very naive interpretation of the political implications of court packing. Republicans will not take some clear message from anything the Democrats do short of them dominating multiple election cycles, they will instead spin this because this is politics. Court packing does not poll well and packing the Courts would be covered as "bad" even by mainstream outlets. Republicans (or whatever political party may exist in the future) will not take this as a rebuke, they will take it as permission to do the same....it does not fix the underlying problem.

      Fixed term limits and scheduled appointments are the better solution as they address a fundamental problem with the system.
    • I witnessed a debate about this earlier today, and I'd take issue with both the framing and some of the proposals.

      So, first, splitting California is a terrible idea for a whole host of reasons, morality being the least of them. Likewise stacking the SCOTUS is essentially a commitment to remove 1/3rd of the US government, which, uh, is not a good idea.

      Granting statehood to PR and DC, though, isn't "fighting dirty", and classing it that way doesn't help anyone, it just boosts resistance to perfectly legal and moral actions that should've been done years ago.

      Basically, "fighting dirty" would mean the Democrats do what the GOP is doing, that is...disenfranchise people and shut down the government. Does anyone here really condone either of those as strategies?



      I'd also note that there's no "fighting dirty" the Dems can do to win in places they don't currently have power. What the GOP is doing isn't "fighting dirty" when out of power so as to get elected, it's changing rules from a position of power so as to keep that power. The Dems already do this: they expand access to voting, they undo gerrymandering, etc.

      There is a persistent myth/framing that the Dems are just sitting there doing nothing and being polite while the GOP punches them in the face. This is often framed as "There's a game of [sport] going on and the GOP is cheating, we should cheat right back at them!", all of which is mostly wrong on most levels. The Dems aren't just sitting there and they aren't particularly handicapped by the rules, save for refusing to actively remove the vote from GOP voters. Is that really what anyone here wants to advocate for?


      As for that sports metaphor, it doesn't work because, as noted, the GOP is mostly doing these things in places where they write the rules. It's not that the Dems are treating it like an equal contest when it isn't, it's that they can't use the same tactics in those places (and shouldn't use them anyway, frankly).



      Bowsette wrote:

      DC residents overwhelmingly oppose retrocession into Virginia/Maryland and are clearly in favor of statehood, I'm not at all in favor of retrocession - DC residents should have the right of self-determination and not have their status predicated on whatever appeases Republicans. They should be entitled to two senators as they have more people within their district than in all of Wyoming or Vermont.

      I'm not against the idea of establishing term limits on SCOTUS appointees, but stacking the supreme court (or even just the threat of doing so) sends a clear message to Republicans that they can't simply disregard political norms and procedures without consequence. They're not interested in governing and their reason for existence at this point is to destroy our system of government, working with them in most capacities (even to produce the most non-controversial bipartisan legislation) just legitimizes them and is not in the best interest of the country.
      No, what stacking the SCOTUS says is "from now on the SCOTUS exists solely to rubber stamp anything the party in power does." You'd effectively remove the judiciary from the legislative process.



      There definitely are things the Dems can do to better their chances, but by and large they seem to already be doing them.

      May those who accept their fate be granted happiness;

      Those who defy it, glory!
    • Bowsette wrote:

      DC residents overwhelmingly oppose retrocession into Virginia/Maryland and are clearly in favor of statehood, I'm not at all in favor of retrocession - DC residents should have the right of self-determination and not have their status predicated on whatever appeases Republicans. They should be entitled to two senators as they have more people within their district than in all of Wyoming or Vermont.D

      While I agree with you I don't see any scenario where the GOP in the Senate will let this occur knowing that it will dilute their chances of holding the Senate.

      Combining into Maryland or Virigina is not ideal but at least it gives the citizens of DC representation especially after the years of Federal abuse.

      Note: I do realize a certain section of DC will have to remain as the Federal District in order to avoid repealing the 23rd amendment.

      John wrote:

      I'd also note that there's no "fighting dirty" the Dems can do to win in places they don't currently have power. What the GOP is doing isn't "fighting dirty" when out of power so as to get elected, it's changing rules from a position of power so as to keep that power. The Dems already do this: they expand access to voting, they undo gerrymandering, etc.


      There is a persistent myth/framing that the Dems are just sitting there doing nothing and being polite while the GOP punches them in the face. This is often framed as "There's a game of [sport] going on and the GOP is cheating, we should cheat right back at them!", all of which is mostly wrong on most levels. The Dems aren't just sitting there and they aren't particularly handicapped by the rules, save for refusing to actively remove the vote from GOP voters. Is that really what anyone here wants to advocate for?


      As for that sports metaphor, it doesn't work because, as noted, the GOP is mostly doing these things in places where they write the rules. It's not that the Dems are treating it like an equal contest when it isn't, it's that they can't use the same tactics in those places (and shouldn't use them anyway, frankly).



      Bowsette wrote:

      DC residents overwhelmingly oppose retrocession into Virginia/Maryland and are clearly in favor of statehood, I'm not at all in favor of retrocession - DC residents should have the right of self-determination and not have their status predicated on whatever appeases Republicans. They should be entitled to two senators as they have more people within their district than in all of Wyoming or Vermont.

      I'm not against the idea of establishing term limits on SCOTUS appointees, but stacking the supreme court (or even just the threat of doing so) sends a clear message to Republicans that they can't simply disregard political norms and procedures without consequence. They're not interested in governing and their reason for existence at this point is to destroy our system of government, working with them in most capacities (even to produce the most non-controversial bipartisan legislation) just legitimizes them and is not in the best interest of the country.
      No, what stacking the SCOTUS says is "from now on the SCOTUS exists solely to rubber stamp anything the party in power does." You'd effectively remove the judiciary from the legislative process.


      There definitely are things the Dems can do to better their chances, but by and large they seem to already be doing them.

      If the democrats don't avenge Merrick Garland's stolen seat once they get back the White House and Senate then they aren't playing dirty (or really playing fair in my opinion.

      As a stated earlier, I'm very troubled that the Senate is over-represented by small red states since the Senate literally crafts the judicial branch.

      If this doesn't get addressed in the future then I can potentially see a revolt. The founding fathers created the bicameral congress in hopes of protecting large and small states when in actuality the small states now have too much power.

      That concept doesn't work so it needs to change or tension will continue to increase in this country.
    • When they go low we go high...to have the altitude advantage as we sever them from their knees down. We tried playing in good faith and it resulted in that orange prick getting elected. No more mercy.
    • Red Dingo wrote:

      When they go low we go high...to have the altitude advantage as we sever them from their knees down. We tried playing in good faith and it resulted in that orange prick getting elected. No more mercy.
      What should the next democratic candidate do differently in 2020? I don’t believe Clinton lost because she played dirty. She merely lost because she had a lot of baggage and the Russians interfered.
    • I never said fight dirty, I said use the moral highground as a vantage point to dismember those Neo Nazi fucks. Remind everyone that these fuckers were the ones that put children in concentration camps, embraced rape culture, and allowed over three thousand Puerto Ricans to die from a hurricane and sucked despot dick.

      They send one of ours to the morgue, we make them wish for death.
    • You corrupt the essence of democracy when you fight dirty and I would rather end the fight than just win our next round.

      This is why I believe Jon Tester might be the best candidate for the Presidential race in 2020. He's not my favorite by a good meter, but he's probably the least "Coastal Elite" that the Democratic party has in the Senate and he has an A- ranking by the NRA. He comes from Montana and plain and simply I'm pretty sure he's never cheated on his mistress with a porn-star.

      It would be really bad if we had another 4 years of Trump. Outside of climate change, any of these issues can wait. Jon Tester is a nobody farmer that probably owns and uses guns but does not deny climate change. This is a guy that a lot of Trump voters would relate to more than they relate to Trump, a lot of people that voted for Trump but feel like he hasn't preformed would be willing to switch to Tester and a lot of Trump voters that would still choose Trump over Tester wouldn't feel threatened by Tester when he won.

      This divide and rift that's going on inside of America is not a good thing. We need a president that people can feel "meh" about instead of hating, that people will only defend him on about 80% of his actions because the rest they don't agree with instead of blindly following him no matter where he leads.

      My main concern about him so far is that he seems to lack international experience.


      Here's an article where he answers about some of his beliefs.
      nbcmontana.com/news/local/test…h-care-and-climate-change
      You don't cure cancer by feeding it
    • Outside of climate change, any of these issues can wait
      Can they, though?

      Trump's policies are imprisoning, starving, and killing people while tearing apart political alliances that took decades to forge.

      Obviously the politician's fallacy ("Something must be done! This is something, therefor we shall do it!") needs to be avoided, and also obviously repairing damage and moving forward takes time, but you can't just sit back and say that things are fine right now and that problems will be dealt with in due time when those problems are killing people today.

      What you need is triage followed by action to deal with the most immediate issues first, and then working your way down the list from there. Ideally with some way to put temporary solutions in place while you work on better long-term ones (and actually implementing those long-term ones rather than counting on the stop-gap to last).

      I'd also say that you're not gonna unseat Trump with a "meh" candidate. Trump has a devoted base, and it's accepted wisdom that Dems don't actually vote if the candidate for president isn't someone with a bit of a cult of personality around them. While I think it's deeply unfortunate that that seems to be the case, it is something you have to take into account, it would seem.

      May those who accept their fate be granted happiness;

      Those who defy it, glory!
    • Nite and Deigh wrote:

      He's not my favorite by a good meter, but he's probably the least "Coastal Elite" that the Democratic party has in the Senate and he has an A- ranking by the NRA.
      How is a favorable review from a terror group a good thing?