I’ll Decide

George Stephanopoulos is at it again. In a recent interview with CNN, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos (nothing incestuous about news personalities interviewing each other instead of actual news makers—oh, wait…), had this to say about questions that should be asked of former President and current Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump:

If you can’t pass that fundamental threshold of saying, “yes the last election was not stolen,” two, “I will abide by the results of the next election,” then I think that’s all voters and viewers need to know.

And at that point, unless Stephanopoulus got answers of which he personally approved, he’d terminate the interview.

No. Those are valid questions, certainly. However, this voter and viewer—and average American—will decide for himself what he needs to know. He does not need a news personality to filter his knowledge.

The self-important arrogance of Stephanopoulos is a major reason why it’s not possible to take anything the man produces seriously.

School Choice, Public Schools

A letter-writer in The Wall Street Journal‘s Wednesday Letters section is opposed to Educational Savings Accounts that Texas parents could use to send their children to private schools.

School choice in Texas will benefit no one except those who already pay for private school. Moving to public funding of private schools will also tend to resegregate society. Our state-level elected officials are doing the bidding of billionaires in- and out-of-state who have other agendas than excellence in our public schools.

School choice will greatly benefit the children, especially those in families on Texas’ lower economic rungs, by letting them escape from failing public schools. Nor is it an either-or choice; the one leads to improvements in the other. School choice, from that competition, will greatly benefit those children remaining in public schools.

That success, far from increasing segregation, will contribute to decreasing it. The majority of those kids on the lower rung are from minority families. Being increasing their ability to compete academically, they’ll be better able to compete for jobs, and for promotions once employed, as adults. That more even competition is the stuff of desegregation.

The idea that no one but a few billionaires will benefit is just so much irrational hype.

He concluded with:

Let’s put public funding of private schools to a statewide vote.

We just did. In the Republican primaries and the runoffs in some of those primaries, public funding won very widespread support. We will again soon: school choice will be on the ballot again this November. Those State-level elected officials, elected in the primaries and will be elected in the general election, having campaigned on the matter, are much more likely to do the bidding of those who hired and will hire them—their constituents—than were Texas to maintain the status quo with its politicians in November.


The Supreme Court a few days ago ruled 6-3 that a US House districting map in South Carolina was not an illegal racial gerrymander but was an entirely legitimate political gerrymander and so beyond the reach of courts to intervene in. Political gerrymanders are entirely political matters and the sole province of a State’s legislature, the Court held.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote in dissent,

This Court has prohibited race-based gerrymanders for a reason. They divide citizens on racial lines to engineer the results of elections.

I suggest that Kagan has, by mistake, hit upon the larger problem that any gerrymandering creates. Political gerrymandering divides citizens on political lines explicitly to engineer the results of elections. How is that any more acceptable?

The idea of barring racial gerrymanders is to prevent the exclusion of racial minorities in a district from electing government representatives who will represent them.

Yet political gerrymanders, which set districts along purely political party lines, are a legitimate means of excluding political minorities, even major parties in a State’s legislative minority, in a district from electing government representatives who will represent those parties’ members.

How is that in any way different from racial gerrymanders? The group that’s in power is allowed, through gerrymandering, to perpetuate its power by permanently reducing the power of those not in power.

Better to draw House districts—or at least US House districts—as rectangles of substantially equal populations, without regard to race or politics.

The first article of the 14th Amendment of our Constitution includes this:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States….

Article I, Section 4, of our Constitution is this:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.

Congress has some (not absolute) authority over the States’ political decisions regarding the Regulations for holding elections, and that would seem to include districting rules.

Finally, surely among the privileges of an American citizen is the privilege—the right—to vote. Every voter should be on an equal footing with every other voter rather than some voters, by dint of their inclusion in a particular race or political bent, having political advantage over other voters. Disadvantaged voters most assuredly are seeing their voting privilege abridged.

In fine, either all American citizens are equal under law, or we are not.

If That Were True….

There are moves afoot, mostly Republican-originated, to amend State constitutions and to otherwise pass legislation that would explicitly allow only US citizens to vote in US elections. A House Administration Committee on American Confidence in Elections: Preventing Noncitizen Voting and Other Foreign Interference explicitly addressed that question at the national level. Progressive-Democratic Party politicians opposed, loudly, the effort. Congressman Joe Morelle (D, NY) was especially vociferous.

This hearing is about preemptively covering Donald Trump’s lies. The hearing isn’t about law and order. It’s about laying the foundation for the next big lie. It’s about saying that illegal voting is the cause of an election defeat.

Congressman Terri Sewell (D, AL) added to the cacophony, insisting that no non-citizens were voting in US elections anyway.

To the extent Sewell is right, then while the proposed explicit blocks on non-citizen voting wouldn’t change much, neither would they do any harm, and they could be useful in preventing some future illegal voting problems.

Regarding the larger matter, Morelle’s objection, it would seem especially useful for Progressive-Democrats to enthusiastically get behind the efforts and speed them along. Surely eliminating a major basis for objecting to election outcomes, for claiming election thefts, and the like would be good for the Progressive-Democratic Party and the perception of legitimacy for those Party politicians who do get elected.

Presidential Debates in 2024

Karl Rove wants a return to simplicity:

A return to simplicity would mean fewer diversions….

His idea for achieving this:

The first presidential debates between the parties’ nominees, Kennedy and Nixon in 1960, were done in small TV studios. Only the moderator, a panel of journalists, and a handful of network executives were present.

Except in 1960, the press wasn’t nearly so biased as it is today—and nakedly, proudly so today.

And a pressman moderator? Recall even in the 2015-16 Republican primary debates, how blatantly Moderator Wolf Blitzer, during that debate’s Audience Question Time, took the question that an audience member asked on national television and completely distorted it into something that Blitzer wanted asked instead.

Rove’s idea isn’t particularly balanced in its simplicity.

On the other hand, it’s hard to see how much simpler it could get than a two-hour debate in a town hall setting with Trump and Biden, and RFK, Jr, if he’d be willing to show up; Each debater would take turns taking questions from the audience that each debater then would answer. There would be no moderator from the press to screen the questions; the debaters would simply take their chances on selecting an audience member to ask his/her question.

The two hours would give the viewers and the town hall audience ample opportunity to evaluate policies on offer (if any); the ability of each debater to concretely answer the question asked, even to stick to each question’s subject over the two-hour course; and the ability of each debater to remain focused and clear for the duration.

Then do at least two more such town hall debates. Trump wants more debates than just the three the Commission on Presidential Debates, in its irrelevance, wants; it’d be interesting to learn how many of the other parties’ candidates would be amenable—and who those candidates would be.