Crushing American Democracy

It’s Real and It’s Happening Now

American democracy is under attack. “One person, one vote” is not a certainty, and some members of our government and of our communities are taking actions to ensure that voters are discouraged and disenfranchised in efforts to win local, state and federal elections at all costs.

There are a number of nefarious actions being taken against American democracy right now, and we should all be aware of them in our fight to protect voting rights:

  • District gerrymandering, false “voter fraud” narratives, and the creation of obstacles for voting (e.g., restrictive voter ID laws, refusing protected time off for voting, and limiting the number and accessibility of polling places thereby creating interminably long voting lines, and outlawing the distribution of water and food to those waiting in line) are all direct threats to fair and equitable access to voting.

learn more about gerrymandering »

  • The electoral college allows for disproportionate voting power amongst states, and there is no federal law that requires electors to vote as they have pledged.

learn more about the electoral college »

  • Social media is heavily filtered and driven by algorithms present the user information based on what the user has already liked/disliked, with no regard for truth or fact-checking. 62 percent of Americans get their news via social media platforms (Pew Research), placing a majority of us in an echo chamber of news and editorial opinions.
  • “Dark money” in politics is a direct result of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in favor of Citizens United giving First Amendment protection of free speech to corporations and unions, allowing them to use corporate money to support campaigns without spending limits.
  • The filibuster process allows a minority or an individual to block the majority. There are two pieces of voting rights legislation currently pending in the Senate: the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. These voting rights laws would enable more Americans to participate in our democracy with greater ease and equality. Those interested in the filibustering of these laws are the politicians who can’t win elections under these fair and equitable conditions.

    Some laws are exempt from filibuster including budget reconciliation, trade promotion authority, the Congressional Review Act, the National Emergencies Act, War Powers Resolution, confirmations of executive branch nominees and judicial nominees, and the debt ceiling. We can protect voting rights by adding them to this list of filibuster exemptions.

learn more about the filibuster »

Take Action to Protect American Democracy

Contact your Senators as well as Senators Collins, Manchin, Murkowski, Portman and Sinema and urge them to protect American democracy by protecting voter rights. Let them know: “NO FILIBUSTER FOR VOTING RIGHTS.”

Find out how to reach your Senators by calling 1-202-224-3121 or by visiting www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm.

What is Gerrymandering?

Gerry­man­der­ing is a polit­ical tactic in which voting bound­ar­ies are drawn with the inten­tion of influ­en­cing who gets elec­ted. Today’s intric­ate algorithms and detailed voter data allow map draw­ers to game redis­trict­ing on a massive scale with surgical preci­sion.

learn more about how gerrymandering is done »

The practice of gerrymandering is nearly as old as the United States. In 1788, while design­ing Virgini­a’s very first congres­sional map, Patrick Henry attempted to draw district bound­ar­ies that would block James Madison from winning a seat. But the term wasn’t coined until 1812 when Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry redrew the state senatorial districts to favor his party. The Boston Gazette published a cartoon which merged “Gerry” and “salamander” to describe the result, and the term gerrymandering stuck.

How Politicians Pick Who You Vote For

In October the Supreme Court will begin deliberations on a ruling that could change the toxic environment of our politics. In the much-anticipated case of Whitford vs. Gill, the court will review the redistricting plan of Wisconsin, which a panel of three federal judges ruled was unconstitutional.  Continue reading “How Politicians Pick Who You Vote For”