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

$upport via Cash App

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!!

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out. You may also Cash App

You may reach the author via email at administrator@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@grassrootsdempolitics.com

House Intel Hearing On Russia-Ukraine Provides Rare Oversight Of Our Intel Agencies

$upport via Cash App

Intel Chiefs from Left to right–Chris Wray(FBI), General Nakasone(NSA), Gina Haspel(former CIA Director), William Burns(CIA Director) and Lt. Gen Scott Berrier(DIA)

A House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Russia-Ukraine war provided a rare opportunity for members of Congress to conduct a backhanded oversight of our intelligence agencies. The hearing, which assembled all the alphabet agency chiefs(FBI, NSA, CIA & DIA) in one room(a very rare occurrence), afforded members of Congress a unique opportunity to raise other domestic issues of public concern regarding our intel agencies. Oversight of our intelligence agencies, as you may know, is an issue Congress has dragged its feet on, ever since the terrorist attacks in September 2001, so this was a breath of fresh air.

Rep Chris Stewart(R-UT) questioned FBI Director Wray about the controversial NSO Spyware Pegasus , which several media reports indicated last year, was being used by dictators worldwide, to illegally track/spy on political dissidents and even journalists. Rep Stewart wanted to know whether Pegasus was being used on U.S. persons for investigative purposes. Director Wray assured Rep Stewart that the FBI purchased Pegasus in 2019 only for “testing and evaluation purposes“, adding that it has never been used on any U.S. person for investigative purposes.

Rep Stewart then asked why the FBI would test a spying software if it didn’t intend to use it? Director Wray, acknowledging that this was a good question, maintained that Pegasus has never been used for investigative purposes on U.S. persons, and that FBI routinely tests products out there, that could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Rep Joaquin Castro(D-TX) followed up on Rep Stewart’s questioning re Pegasus software. He wanted to know whether foreign governments have used Pegasus to target U.S. persons. Director Wray indicated that such a question would be better answered in a classified setting, so we are left hanging on that issue. Yay!!

Another interesting line of questioning came from Rep Elise Stefanik(R-NY) who brought up a very troubling case of an FBI counterterrorism informant, who was not only known to have violated the law multiple times, but whose Limo company led to the deaths of some 20 innocent New Yorkers, ruining the lives of their surviving family members. The crux of Rep Stefanik’s question, an excellent one that quite frankly isn’t asked often enough, was whether informants used in counterterrorism cases, are vetted to make sure they are not criminals. Director Wray assured Rep Stefanik that there are strict rules in place regarding the conduct of FBI informants, even when it comes to counterterrorism cases. This was a very important question because there is a widely held belief out there that in counterterrorism cases, “anything goes”, including the use of criminals/criminal gangs to go after/harass terrorism suspects–people who often times, have not been convicted of anything. A sad state of affairs indeed.

Bottom line folks, the hearing today showed just how important it is to have proper oversight of our intelligence agencies, something Yours Truly has been screaming about. There is absolutely no reason why questions about Pegasus spyware and other intelligence-related questions cannot be aired in a public forum like it happened today. Simply put, not every intelligence-related hearing has to be in a private setting. There are enough topics of public interest that can be safely discussed in public. Hopefully when U.S. Senators get their go-around with these intelligence chiefs, somebody will pop the $1 million question–the plight of targeted individuals in the U.S., which maybe, just maybe, may solve the Havana Syndrome mystery.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out. You may also Cash App

You may reach the author via email at administrator@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Laura Ingraham Is Upset That Defense Secretary Austin Wants To Rid Military Of Racists & Extremists

The unfortunate events of January 6, 2021, dubbed “DCInsurrection”, where a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building interrupting a joint session of Congress convened to formally confirm the election of President Joe Biden, have raised a lot of questions about violent extremism and racism in the United States, and specifically, the extent to which such extremism and racism have infected the military ranks.

During the insurrection, a lot of Americans witnessed on live TV and social media, images of many of the rioters in military regalia, engaging in formations that left absolutely no doubt that they were either active duty military officers, or veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Media reports have since confirmed that quite a number of the DC insurrectionists were indeed either active duty military officers or veterans, a disturbing development indeed, and proof positive sign that there is radicalization/extremism within our armed forces. Sadly, there were also images at the DC insurrection of people displaying flags and other symbols of groups with long and documented histories of espousing White supremacist views. So the problem at DC insurrection was not just violent extremism, but violent extremism plus racism.

Naturally, as a result of these troubling media reports, there have been calls from the public and members of Congress, for the department of defense to investigate this apparent radicalization in the military, with the goal of ridding the revered American institution of racists and extremists–something all reasonable people will conclude is a very noble and justified goal. It was therefore quite interesting on Thursday’s(2/4/2021) edition of her show, to see Fox News host Laura Ingraham express reservations, even outrage, at the fact that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has put in motion efforts to do just that–rid the U.S. military of racists and extremists.

In the editorial section of her show titled “The Ingraham Angle“, Ingraham lashed out at Defense Secretary Austin saying his efforts to get racists and extremists out of the military was a veiled attempt at purging Conservatives and Trump supporters from the military. Laura played a clip of Defense Secretary Austin’s remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing where Secretary Austin said, “I will fight hard to stump out sexual assault, and to rid our ranks of racists and extremists. The job of the department of defense is to keep America safe from our enemies, but we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.” She then strangely lashed out at these perfectly normal sentiments by Secretary Austin saying, “Of course what he [Secretary Austin] really meant then, and what he would like to do now, is rid the military of all strong Conservatives and of course, Trump supporters.”

Laura Ingraham’s take on Secretary Austin’s remarks at his confirmation hearings are not only troubling because she unreasonably casts negative aspersions at the Secretary’s motives, but also because she appears to be troubled that efforts are underway to rid the military of racists and extremists. Reasonable people would welcome such a move because it is not only good for the military, but also for the country to have a military that does not harbor racists and extremists. By unreasonably suggesting that the aim here is to rid the military of “strong Conservatives” and “Trump supporters”, is Laura Ingraham tacitly admitting that Conservatives and Trumpers are indeed racists and extremists? Are racists and extremists a voting block that is now being actively courted by the modern Republican party? These and others, are interesting questions one hopes the mainstream media will pose to Ingraham and company, regarding her seeming reluctance to have the military remove racists and extremists from it’s ranks.

It also bears pointing out that Ingraham’s reservations about getting rid of racists and extremists from the military is a prevalent view among many prominent Republicans. You’ll remember that after the January 6th incident, many people started expressing concern about a similar insurrection happening two weeks later, at the January 20th presidential inauguration event. Among the steps taken to prevent a repeat of January 6th, was a beefing up of security in and around Washington DC, by bringing in National Guard troops from the various states. The troops brought in to secure the inauguration event were vetted to ensure they had no ties to the same extremists groups that participated in the January 6th insurrection. Strangely, and much like we witnessed with Laura Ingraham, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and Florida’s Ron DeSantis, were also very upset that the troops were vetted for extremism ties, something most reasonable people would consider prudent given the circumstances.

Bottom line folks, Yours Truly has repeatedly stated that among the most underreported stories during the four years of the Trump administration, is the extent to which he politicized and abused the military to achieve his political interests. These unreasonable protestations by Trumpers like Laura Ingraham, Governors Abbott, DeSantis, et al, towards ridding the military of racists and extremists, only add on to my suspicions. Are they afraid that a vetting will uncover something they are already aware of, but would rather hide from the public? Hmm

Obviously the jury is still out on the finer details of the politicization and abuse of the military during the four years of the Trump administration, and hopefully details will soon start coming out under the Biden administration. One hopes that the mainstream media will keep us fully apprised on the findings of DOD Inspector General’s investigations in this regard, especially in states like Texas and Florida with super Trumper Governors.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com