Is It Time To Go To Non-Partisan Primaries To Address Growing Polarization?

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A segment on MSNBC’s 11th Hour w/ Stephanie Ruhle(06/22/22) delved into the very interesting discussion as to whether, given the staggering levels of polarization in the country, we should change adopt a non-partisan primary voting system. Ruhle’s guest Nick Troiano, Executive Director of Unite America, says this change, which is already in place in several states, notably Alaska, would incentivize candidates to look for support beyond their party affiliation thus making them more likely to seek bipartisan solutions to problems. Unite America is a national organization trying to bridge the growing partisan divide by supporting political reforms and candidates who put people over party.

Troiano told 11th Hour host Ruhle(video at 1:22):“I think we spend a lot of time focused on who we elect, not enough time focusing on how we elect, because it’s the systems of our elections that are really pushing our parties further and further apart, and I think our politicians, as a result, are much more polarized than we the people. We’re not seeing the types of solutions and bipartisan policy making in Congress as the American people want and deserve, and the core reason of that is because of our system of partisan primaries. In the last election, it was only 10% of Americans who elected 83% of Congress, because the vast majority of our elections are decided not in the general election in November, but in the primary election, and that problem is getting even worse this election cycle after the latest round of redistricting. We’re going to have the least competitive elections of our lifetime. It’s going to lead to the least accountable Congress of our lifetime. So if we want different outcomes out of Congress, we have to change the process, and fortunately, there’s a growing movement to do that at the state level all across the country.”

Below are some of United America‘s suggested reforms

Troiano singled out the primary system in Alaska as the “best example” of what should be emulated nationwide, if we are going to address the growing polarization problem. He said: “Senator[Lisa]Murkowski was one of the 14 Republicans who voted to advance the bipartisan gun legislation. She’s the only Republican up for election this year, and what’s notable is that this is the first time where the Senator doesn’t face a partisan primary. She’s standing for election in front of all Alaskan voters because in 2020, Alaskans adopted a ballot measure that replaced both parties primaries with a single non-partisan primary. So all the candidates compete in one election, all the voters get to participate on that ballot, the top four finishers go to the general election and through an instant runoff, whomever wins the majority of support gets elected, and so it gives voters more voice and choice in elections, and it incentivizes candidates and leaders to campaign and be responsive to the whole constituency, not just the 10% who may vote in a partisan primary. Now imagine if additional states were to adopt this reform, we can have dozens of our elected leaders in Congress finally being able to be responsive to the majority of Americans and not the political extremes.”

Troiano also said non-partisan primaries would encourage more people to throw their hats into the political ring without fear of being labeled “spoilers”, something he acknowledged, keeps a lot of otherwise good candidates from both parties, on the sidelines.

Bottom line folks, non-partisan primaries is a very interesting suggestion indeed, which Yours Truly hopes, will be given serious consideration given the crippling levels of polarization in our politics today. Simply put, when the likes of Boebert(CO) and MTG(GA) start showing up in Congress, then reasonable people will agree, that the selection system is surely broken!!

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Is It Time To Hold Fox News Accountable Over Its Role In The January 6th Insurrection?

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An interesting segment on MSNBC’s Katie Phang Show(06/11/22) delved into the burning question among members of the public, as to whether Fox News should be held accountable for what many believe, was an incitement by some of its leading hosts towards the violent insurrection at the Capitol on 01/06/2021. This question is resurfacing because a former senior editor at Fox News, one Chris Stirewalt, who was known to openly criticize the network’s super close ties to the Trump administration and its far right extremist backers, is set to testify at the January 6th Committee’s second public hearing set for Monday(06/13/22). It is expected that Stirewalt will draw a direct connection between some of the leading insurrectionists and Fox News’ hosts. Katie Phang’s guest Danielle Moodie, who hosts the Woke AF Podcast, thinks Fox News should absolutely be held accountable for it’s role in the January 6th insurrection.

Host Katie Phang:“One of the witnesses on Monday, we know, is Chris Stirewalt. He was fired from Fox after calling Arizona for Biden. He’s also been known to say Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party. Do you think the committee is going to start zeroing in on the White House’s[Trump’s] interactions with the network Fox News?”

Danielle Moodie:“I would love for them to do that. I would love for the Department of Justice to do that, I’d love for the FCC to do that, I mean the reality here is that Fox News for the longest time, is the propaganda arm, it is a dangerous entity, and so I think it is incredibly important for them not to just look at this and say, ‘Oh well, freedom of speech, we can’t touch it’. We have to see how all of these pieces fit together, and I think that without Fox News, you wouldn’t have the kind of amplification of the insurrection, and replacement theory, and all of the things that we know that these militias…and the Trump base holds dear, and so yes, I think that they absolutely should be zeroing in on Fox at some point, and I hope it’s soon.”

Bottom line folks, we can complain about the rise of White nationalism and other far right violent extremist groups all we want, but unless we are willing and able to confront the Fox News engine that we know, powers all these dangerous groups, then we might as well start preparing for the next, possibly successful insurrection. If the January 6th Commitee is serious about its stated goal of preventing another violent insurrection, then as Danielle Moodie correctly points out, it necessarily has to deal with the role of Fox News in the 2021 insurrection, and potentially, a future one. Put another way, it’s about time Fox News’ freedom of speech defense got put to the test. Incitement to violence is a well known exception to a freedom of speech claim.

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Lawyer Group Wants Ted Cruz Disbarred For His Efforts To Overturn 2020 Elections

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Michael Teter, the Managing Director of a lawyer group called The 65 Project, appeared on MSNBC’s Ayman show(05/28/22) to discuss his group’s efforts to among other things, have Senator Ted Cruz(R-TX) disbared for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Teter says Senator Cruz, by agreeing to represent Trump and some Pennsylvania lawmakers in their “bogus lawsuits” at the U.S. Supreme Court, “lent the respect and credibility of the legal profession to the cause”, something Teter contends, runs afoul of the legal profession’s rules of professional conduct.


Michael Teter specifically said(video at 2:40):“[Senator]Ted Cruz, like many public officials, sought to overturn the election. He, led the charge in his own words, to do so, but he took an extra step, which is that he agreed to represent Donald Trump, he agreed to represent several Pennsylvania Republicans in their bogus lawsuits before the United States Supreme Court, and when he agreed to take on that representation, he lent his law license, he lent the respect and credibility of the legal profession to the cause, and in doing so, he then is obligated to abide by the rules of professional conduct. He failed to do so, and he should be punished for that.” 

Turns out The 65 Project is also targeting Texas Attorney General and super Trumper Ken Paxton for disbarment. You’ll remember AG Paxton ran to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the high court to overturn the results of the 2020 elections in an effort to bolster Trump’s bogus claims of a rigged election.


Bottom line folks, we have seen hundreds of regular folks being paraded in federal court to be held accountable for their roles in the January 6th insurrection. However, politicians like Ted Cruz and company, who assisted Trump in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, have largely come out unscathed for their highly unpatriotic behavior. It’s therefore very encouraging to see the good folks at The 65 Project trying to exact some accountability from Trump-allied politicos who aided and abetted his insurrection. The ideal punishment would of course be to bar them from any future public office, but we’ll take disbarment for those of them in the legal profession, for now.

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Kurt Bardella: 2022 Midterms Might Be The Last Free And Fair Elections We Have. WHOA!!

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MSNBC’s Katie Phang show(05/21/22) did a segment on WaPo’s bombshell revelation that Ginni Thomas’ involvement in the effort to overturn the 2020 election results was much more than has been previously reported. The conversation then turned into how ruthlessly Republicans would have dealt with a similarly situated liberal justice. Guest Kurt Bardella slammed the perennial weakness by congressional Democrats, who he said always played defense as opposed to the attack-minded Republicans. Bardella then made a startling assertion, telling host Katie Phang that if the January 6th Select Committee doesn’t go on the offense by making top Trump officials testify in public like Republicans did Hillary Clinton during Benghazi, then “this[2022 midterms]might be the last free and fair elections we have.”

MSNBC host Katie Phang(video at 5:11): “Kurt I saw you tweeting about how you were surprised that Democrats didn’t immediately start investigations into the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic as soon as they got into power. Now we see the January 6th Committee is apparently fine with not even getting him to testify…What will it take for the Dems to go on the offensive?”

Kurt Burdella: “I just think back to the Benghazi Select Committee, when Republicans didn’t blink to bring up Hillary Clinton to testify for more than 11 hours and face that type of grilling. I don’t know how you can have a system that has Secretary Clinton at the time having to do that, but you let Donald Trump, and people like Mike Pence, and Ginni Thomas, and Rudy Giuliani, and Steve Bannon, and Mark Meadows avoid that type of public setting. It’s such a parity and I’m telling you, we’re seeing right now, at this very second, Republicans campaign for the midterms on the idea that they are going to do this to the Biden administration. That they are not going to hesitate to use the reins of power to go after the president’s son…to try to impeach the president, to try to impeach the DHS secretary…Democrats are about to get a lesson on how to wield power, whether they like it or not, if they don’t step up right now because they are the last line of defense of stopping Republicans from hijacking democracy. It’s not about 2024 Katie, it’s about 2022 because I promise you, if Republicans are allowed to regain a congressional majority, they will not certify a Democrat win in 2024…This check and balance that we are about to see with the January 6th Select Committee is perhaps the last guardian of defense that we have of our democracy and our process, and if we don’t get answers from everybody who was involved, especially at the very top, this might be the last free and fair elections we have.”

As outlandish as Kurt Bardella’s assertion sounds, rank and file Democrats know it is absolutely true. A lot of the crazy things we’ve witnessed from Trump Republicans are rooted in their belief that Democrats will never muster enough courage to hold them accountable in any meaningful way–all bark no bite. Let’s hope the January 6th Select Committee breaks this expectation of weakness by Republicans, by holding them accountable through lengthy public testimonies, under oath. If the January 6th Select Committee fails to hold Trump and his top lieutenants accountable, then as Bardella correctly points out, democracy as we know it, will be dead this year, not in 2024, and Dem weakness will be partly to blame. This of course, also apples to President Biden’s Department of Justice.

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Former AG Holder: Americans Should Prepare For An “Ideologically Driven” Supreme Court Not Tethered To Precedent

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Former AG Holder on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports show(05/12/22)

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports show (05/12/22) to discuss his new book “Our Unfinished March”. During his interview, he was asked about the controversy caused by the leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion dealing with abortion, to which he gave a very interesting response. He said while the leak itself was a serious issue, the bigger problem Americans need prepare themselves for, is an “ideologically driven” Supreme Court, that will have little regard to precedent–an issue Democrats need to focus on as we approach the midterm elections.

Former AG Holder(video at 0:35):“I think the leak is unprecedented both in its breadth, its scope, and its completeness. We’ve heard rumors before about where the court is going to go, how the justices perhaps were aligned, but never actually seen a draft opinion, and that’s serious. That’s something that needs to be addressed. But what we really need to focus on is what’s contained in that leaked opinion, and where the court appears to be lining up. Looks like they are going to overturn Roe v Wade, inconsistent with the notion that you adhere to precedent that people have relied on over the course of the last 50 years. It’s an attack on the right to privacy, and so the question has to be asked, is it only going to be abortion that is going to be at risk, or is same sex marriage going to be at risk? The regulation of contraception, is that going to be at risk? Even interacial marriage. All of these things are based on the right to privacy, which this opinion in its form as we saw it, really goes after that right to privacy.”

Holder added that people need to get prepared for an “ideologically driven” Supreme Court, that is “not going to adhere to the extent that they should, to precedent.” This is of course very troubling given the weighty issues the high court is getting ready to deal with–affirmative action, gun cases, voting rights, etc. Democrats can capitalize on this Supreme Court issue, but only if they present it in AG Holder’s terms–an untethered high court that threatens many of the legal precedents we have come to rely on. This approach will likely drive more people to the polls this Fall, as opposed to only presenting it as an abortion/reproductive rights issue.

Bottom line folks, Dems sucking at messaging is nothing new. “Leakgate” presents them with an opportunity to drive Dem voters afraid of an untethered Supreme Court, to the polls in record numbers, and bucking the midterm election trend which typically favors the party out of power(GOP). Hopefully Dems will get their Supreme Court messaging right this time around by railing against the MAGA Supreme Court as an affront to all the legal precedents we have come to rely on for decades.

It’s also worth noting that former AG Holder, a self-described “institutionalist”, said that after initially being opposed to a criminal prosecution of former President Trump, he now believes, given the revelations about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, that he needs to be held accountable. Surely, current AG Garland has to take this seriously, coming from a former prosecutor, who recently held his position.

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