Tag Archives: political parties

State senator seeks sponsors for non-partisan redistricting bill

State Sen. Dave Hansen is seeking sponsors for legislation to create a non-partisan redistricting process.

Seeking sponsors marks the next step toward introduction of the bill, according to Hansen, a Democrat from Green Bay.

Hansen is a long-time advocate of redistricting reform that would move responsibility from legislators and political parties to the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau.

“Allowing politicians to draw district boundaries makes it too easy for the majority party to gerrymander the maps to their long-term advantage,” Hansen said in a press statement. “And when parties engage in that behavior it is the voters and the people who are hurt because they are no longer able to check extreme behavior by the majority party.”

In 2011 Republican leaders and staff worked in secret outside the Capitol to draw district lines designed to lock in their legislative majorities for ten years or more.

As a result, in the 2012 election Republicans took over 61 percent of the seats in the Assembly despite winning less than 49 percent of the vote.

“Gerrymandering as we are seeing it practiced is a form of cheating,” Hansen said. “Neither political party should be able to lock in their power by creating an unfair advantage in drawing district lines.”

A federal court has ruled the Republican-drafted maps are unconstitutional, drawn with the intent to lock in GOP control of the Senate and Assembly. The case is on track for a U.S. Supreme Court review.

Hansen said making the legislative change is important regardless of the outcome in the court case.

He said, “No one who looks at the evidence objectively is disputing that the maps drawn by Republican leaders are unfair to the voters. If competition is a good thing in other aspects of society then it is good for our political system. And that’s what we want, fair and competitive elections.”

Poll: Political parties lacking appeal for young Americans

Most young Americans say the Republican and Democratic parties don’t represent them, a critical data point after a year of ferocious presidential primaries that forced partisans on both sides to confront what — and whom — they stand for.

That’s according to a new GenForward poll that shows the disconnect holds true across racial and ethnic groups, with just 28 percent of young adults overall saying the two major parties do a good job of representing the American people.

The poll shows that despite this across-the-board feeling of disenchantment with the two-party system, the Democratic Party holds a clear advantage in appealing to young people of color.

More than two-thirds of young adults, including vast majorities of young Asian-Americans, Hispanics and blacks, say the Republican Party does not care about people like them.

Democrats fare a bit better among young people overall, with a small majority — 53 percent — saying the party cares about people like them. Among young African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans, most believe the party does care about people like them.

Among young whites, majorities say both parties don’t care much about them, including 58 percent who say that of the Republican Party and 52 percent who say it about the Democratic Party.

GenForward is a survey by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The first-of-its-kind poll pays special attention to the voices of young adults of color, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of a new generation.

The results of the survey of Americans age 18-30 reflect something of an identity crisis for both parties heading into the future, driven in part by deep antipathy toward the presidential candidates they nominated.

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the two least-popular presidential nominees in the history of modern polling, were opposed by large and bitter swaths of their parties.

Young people aren’t certain to fall in line behind the nominees, the survey found.

Three-quarters of young adults say the billionaire real estate magnate is unqualified to be president even after he vanquished 16 GOP rivals.

Half say the same of Clinton, a former senator and secretary of state, after unlikely rival Bernie Sanders forced her to fight for the nomination for a year.

But for all the disenchantment, young adults across racial and ethnic groups are mostly unfamiliar with their alternatives.

Seven in 10 say they don’t know enough about Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson to have an opinion about him, and nearly 8 in 10 say the same about Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

The 18-30 age group tends not to be a conservative constituency, so the survey contains critical data particularly for Democrats and Clinton, who has said she knows she has “work to do” to appeal to the young people who flocked to Sanders during the primary.

Young people across racial and ethnic groups were more likely to support Sanders than Clinton in their primary battle this spring, and among young Sanders supporters, less than half — 43 percent — say they’ll support Clinton against Trump in the fall election.

Three percent say they’ll support Trump, with the rest saying they’re undecided, will vote for a third-party candidate or will not vote.

The poll of 1,940 adults age 18-30 was conducted July 9-20 using a sample drawn from the probability-based GenForward panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. young adult population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

The survey was paid for by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago, using grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

 

On the web

GenForward polls: http://www.genforwardsurvey.com/

Black Youth Project: http://blackyouthproject.com/

AP-NORC: http://www.apnorc.org/

Remaking politics by the seat of our pants

American democracy is caught on the horns of a dilemma. Most Americans are feeling fed up with the Republicans and let down by the Democrats — with good reason. Both major parties are failing the country. Yet a third party isn’t the answer. Like it or not, America has a two-party system.

So how do we get regular people back in the driver’s seat of our government when both major parties are catering to a privileged few at the expense of everyone else.

We have to start with two articles of faith. First, it hasn’t always been like it is now and doesn’t have to be like this. Second, there is a way out of the trap we’re in.

We need to make the major parties better. They won’t change unless forced. It’s like the basic law of physics — an object at rest will remain at rest, unless some force makes it move. A corrupt political establishment will stay corrupt and failing parties will keep failing us, unless we make them change their ways.

When past generations freed themselves from similar traps, they started by shedding old labels and fashioning themselves a new identity. They attached that newly minted brand to breathtakingly ambitious agendas. And then they effectively forced those aspirations on the parties.

Current conditions dictate that this must be done again.

Given how messed up politics is at the moment, we cannot in good conscience call ourselves Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives. We deserve better and need something new.

We are commoners and we are politically homeless. The royals of our political system made us so.

We aim to make a household for the politically homeless and, in so doing, transform parties that are failing us. And we are pulling together to make it happen. With an organizing committee of citizens from all of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts and 19 different counties, we just formed Blue Jean Nation.

Blue Jean Nation is not a party. It is a community and a movement in the making. Our end goal is to make common sense in government and concern for the common good far less uncommon. To reach that goal, we will work every day against political privilege.

We will do it from the ground up, with plain people leading the way, by the seat of our pants.

When faced with economic and political threats eerily similar to today’s conditions, past generations straightened things out on more than one occasion. I refuse to believe there is something so different about us that renders us less capable of making change than those who came before us. In so many ways, we have more going for us now than they did then.

Political reboots have happened before. Another one is desperately needed.

Mike McCabe is the founder and president of Blue Jean Nation and author of “Blue Jeans in High Places: The Coming Makeover of American Politics.” Visit BlueJeanNation.com.




Wisconsin GOP, Dems already laying 2014 groundwork

Neither political party is conceding any ground when it comes to preparing for Wisconsin’s 2014 elections.

Earlier in January, the state Democratic Party said it plans to hire political directors in Eau Claire, Green Bay and La Crosse.

Now the Republican Party of Wisconsin says it will open four permanent campaign offices of its own. The GOP offices will be in Eau Claire, Green Bay, Madison, and Waukesha. Party officials held grand-opening celebrations Saturday. The Republican field directors will be responsible for building up county operations, coordinating activists and developing outreach efforts.

In 2014, Wisconsin will hold elections for governor and all eight congressional seats.