Political Reform, Politics

For the People or the Elite? – The Manchin Compromise

Theodore Roosevelt’s maxim is the essence of successful politics since it accepts the reality of compromise.  Thankfully, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia appreciates TR’s maxim and prevented the ideologues on both sides from torpedoing necessary electoral reform.  He has proposed only a set of principles at this point but they adopt many of the good provisions endorsed in my previous post and add new ones that improve on the more extreme provisions. 

First, the campaign finance section includes the DISCLOSE Act and Honest Ads act sections of the bill that would open dark money contributions to the light. No longer could large last-minute contributions be hidden from view until after the election.  He also strengthens enforcement of the Foreign Agent Registration Act and would address cybersecurity risks in election machinery. He also would make Election Day a holiday so more Americans would be able to participate in the process.

Sen. Manchin also takes the best of the voting rights provisions of the bill and adds a voting identification requirement that would allow utility bills and other less onerous methods to be used to verify identity. He would mandate a two-week early voting period that is already the practice in many states as well as automatic registration through drivers license offices. At the same time, states would be allowed to police their voter registration rolls by utilizing current interstate and federal mechanisms.

The two most controversial provisions deal with partisan gerrymandering and resuscitating the Voting Rights Act to control discrimination.  The original bill would not only ban partisan gerrymandering, but would impose compulsory one-size-fits-all processes in all states. For example, my home state of Montana just gained a congressional seat and now will have two seats. Drawing the lines for those two districts will be much more straightforward than in my former home of Texas, which will have 35 seats.  Manchin’s process for preventing gerrymandering is not yet clear, but envisions using objective computer models to reduce the ability of parties and incumbents to game the system.  

Rather than impose detailed prescriptive regulations, Manchin proposes a more flexible way to prevent voting rights violations through a revised version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, named after the late civil rights activist and congressman.    It would impose federal pre-clearance of electoral changes on any state and local jurisdiction with more than 15 voting rights violation in the previous 25 years. At the same time, he would require sufficient judicial review before any such finding could be made and create a way for a jurisdiction to end the pre-clearance process.  This would create a realistic enforcement mechanism against any significant future abuses. 

A copy of Sen. Manchin’s proposals is attached below and another analysis of their implications can be found here.  The senator’s compromise is a step in the right direction, though it still could be improved in some areas. My next post will discuss why contributions solicited over the Internet are subject to abuse under current law and what could be done to prevent it.

Uncategorized

Theodore Roosevelt on Fatherhood

This tender photo of TR with baby Quentin and the quotation shows how important fatherhood was to him. He often talked about the sanctity of families, but also just loved playing with his children. Indeed, he ended his New Nationalism speech otherwise full of pronouncements on governmental policy with this statement:

In the last analysis, the most important element in any man’s career must be the sum of those qualities which, in the aggregate, we speak of as character. If he has not got it, then no law that the wit of man can devise, no administration of the law by the boldest and strongest executive, will avail to help him. We must have the right kind of character – character that makes a man, first of all, a good man in the home, a good father, a good husband – that makes a man a good neighbor.

His example of courage and service to his country led all of his children into military service, two of whom died. Quentin was one of them as well as his namesake Theodore Roosevelt III, who commanded troops on Utah Beach on D-Day and later died in France. TR’s words and example of fatherhood will always be an inspiration to all fathers everywhere.

Happy Fathers Day!

China, Domestic Policy, Environment, Foreign Policy

Chinese Climate Hypocrisy

This deeply disturbing 10 minute video from Bloomberg news is an important eye-opener on the danger of  globalist naïveté regarding China’s climate change policies. It discloses that almost half of the polysilicon used in solar panels comes from factories located in Xinjiang, China, and potentially through coerced labor from the Uighur minority.  Moreover, the Chinese are able to undercut the market for this source of “ clean energy” because the electricity in Xinjiang is produced from coal .   Despite this and the fact that the  Biden Administration has already sanctioned China for this oppression, the President and his climate ambassador still think we can trust China to abide by climate commitments.  This report makes it clear that their clean energy program is really a mercantilist ploy to dominate the solar panel market.  It’s a long video, but I encourage you to see every minute. 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2021-04-13/the-solar-industry-s-xinjiang-problem-video