Saturday, March 21, 2015

Democratic Contender O'Malley brings his Message to Iowa

One thing that seems inevitable about the coming Presidential election cycle was that while there is going to be a wide array of GOP candidates battling for their party's nomination, the odds of any real competition in Democratic party seemed low. 

For better or worse, it didn't seems like there was going to be much competition to the presumed front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

But, that could be changing. 

With the ongoing 'scandal' of Clinton's use of a personal email service for his official correspondence as Secretary of State, at least one of the likely Democratic contenders is taking advantage of the situation: former Maryland Governor O'Malley.

O'Malley has been a suspected contender for the Democratic nomination for some time, but was rarely considered a serious threat to a presumed campaign of Hillary Clinton. So far, his main theme has been a critique of Wall Street and how the federal government hasn't done nearly enough to hold 'big banks' responsible for their actions during the 2008 crash and preventing such another crash in the future. 

If that sounds familiar, it should, since much of O'Malley's positions are reminiscent of another possible Democratic contender, Senator Elizabeth Warren. However, Warren has repeated stated she won't seek the nomination. We'll see if that stance lasts...

O'Malley on the other hand is making it pretty clear of his intentions. Nothing says "I want to run for President" than a visit to my home state of Iowa.

In addition to his visits to the cities of Davenport, Tipton, and Council Bluffs, he also penned an op-ed piece for the state's largest newspaper, The Des Moines Register. 

While O'Malley's chances of taking the nomination from Hillary Clinton seem low, you certainly can't fault him for making the best of her recent bit of bad press and getting his name out there as much as possible.

Personally, I suspect O'Malley will make a bigger splash in the Democratic race than most assume..

Kudos to John Wagner of The Washington Post for his recent piece on O'Malley's visit to Iowa. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Obama Seriously Does not know why Americans didn't vote in 2014- Independent Voter Network

Kudos to Shawn Griffiths at the Independent Voter Network for this no-nonsense piece on low-voter turnout in America today...

Obama Seriously Does Not Know Why Americans Didn't Vote in 2014- IVN

Congressional Redistricting Commission: Can they pass the Constitutional Muster?

Kudos to the good folks at the Independent Voter Network for this great story on a topic most American voters sadly don't hear much about: Congressional Redistricting

Every decade, with the new census comes the need to evaluate the current 435 congressional districts in the United States. Because the current number of members in the House of Representatives is fixed at 435, there is a serious need every decade to re-draw these congressional districts so that each has roughly the same number of people in it (thus ensuring that each member of Congress represent the same number of citizens).

How exactly this redistricting is carried out is decided on a state-by-state basis, but there is no general rule: No gerrymandering

What's Gerrymandering? Simply put, its the purposely re-drawing of congressional districts to serve a particular political party/faction's agenda.

"In theory", such methods are illegal in the United States by various Supreme Court decisions, especially Davis v. Bandemer. Problem is, even the Supreme Court couldn't say by what standard gerrymandering cases should be held to. In other words, the Supreme Court agrees gerrymandering should be illegal and they have the authority to try such cases but are not sure to draw the actual "legal line".

One idea over the years to help prevent political interests from taking too big a role in re-drawing congressional districts is to use so-called "Independent Redistricting Commissions". These commissions are initially set-up by the state legislature but once created, has relatively free-reign in how they ultimately re-draw the lines. These commissions are normally created via popularly voted on amendments to the state's constitution.

Question is, are such commissions constitutional? By taking the power away from the state legislatures to conduct their task, are they interfering the state's right to determine congressional districts?

Those are some of the questions the Supreme Court will be working to answer in the upcoming Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Com'n.

Thanks again to IVN's Daniel Kim for this story!

Do Independent Redistricting Commissions Pass Constitutional Muster?