salon.com — Those of us who were still awake late into election night 2012 heard President Obama say, “I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time. By the way, we have to fix that.” If I could ask President Obama to do just one thing over the next four years, I would ask him to use his leadership to “fix that.” Twelve years after the startling disarray of the 2000 election, in too many states dismally bad election administration has become the expected course. This year, we saw thousands of our fellow citizens still wait in those endless lines, cast provisional ballots and file complaints when they were illegally denied the opportunity to vote. American citizens are literally fighting for their right to vote. Now it’s time that Congress and President Obama step to that fight.
consortiumnews.com — Before the 2012 election fades in our memories, displaced by sex scandals and other attention-getting news, Americans ought to reflect on what works well and — even more worthy of reflection — what works poorly in their representative democracy. I’m not talking about post-mortems concerning the specific electoral outcome and what led a particular party or candidate to win or lose. I instead am referring to serious deficiencies that ought to trouble any American, regardless of liking or disliking this month’s election result, who values a healthy and fair political system that respects the will of the people. Some of the most undemocratic aspects of what American electoral democracy has become were in display at least as much in this most recent electoral cycle as in any other. One concerns the role of money, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and the ineffectiveness of the Federal Election Commission reaching new depths.
inthesetimes.com — The re-election of President Barack Obama and the strengthened Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate present an opportunity to undo Citizens United—an opportunity that would not have been possible had Mitt Romney won or the Senate majority flipped.
Romney was on record supporting the decision. In fact, he wanted to expand it to repeal the century-old ban on corporations giving directly to candidates from their treasuries.
Although Senate Democrats are still far short of a filibuster-proof majority, they do have more leverage—if they have the stamina and stomach—to insist on some ameliorations of Citizens United. And they have the platform to demand that the vacancies be filled on the Federal Election Commission, which have crippled enforcement of the weak laws that remain “constitutional” under this Court.
policyshop.net — The right to vote is just that – a fundamental right which is the cornerstone of American democracy. In the 2012 election, that sacred value was challenged in a way we have not seen in a couple of generations, perhaps since the civil and voting rights movements of the 1960s. Some powerful people tried to deny this right; legislatures in many states decided that the freedom to vote should be restricted, and they erected many unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to registration and voting. The measures taken were so blatant and widespread that they served to energize coalitions of citizens to fight for voting rights harder than ever, and made many voters more determined to vote and have their vote count.
thenation.com — It was easy to imagine, going into the November 6 election, that the fix was in. But the people pushed back, giving President Obama a 3.4 million popular vote victory, a 332–206 Electoral College landslide, a Senate that is more Democratic and more progressive, and a House with considerably fewer Tea Party extremists. This has led some commentators to imagine that a template has been developed for defending the will of the people in the face of unprecedented financial and structural assaults on the democratic process. But that’s a naïve assumption. The better lesson to take from 2012 is that voters really do want a fair and functional democracy, and that Democrats and their allies should use the authority they have been handed to fight for it.
prospect.org — Tuesday’s race was the first presidential election to take place since Citizens United, and campaign spending this cycle exceeded $6 billion. With fundraising split roughly evenly between the two major parties, it was inevitable that some donors wouldn’t be able to buy the electoral outcomes they were hoping for. Tuesday’s election did offer a number of encouraging signs that coalitions of grassroots activists, volunteers, and voters can, in fact, stand up to SuperPACs, 501(c)4 groups, and other powerful aggregations of wealth that have been empowered as a result of America’s deregulated campaign finance system. Despite these positive developments, it would be a mistake to think that the fight against money in politics is over.
motherjones.com — Can't buy me gov. That line neatly sums up the dismal showing on Election Day for the fundraisers, super-PAC strategists, and big-dollar donors of the Republican Party. Outside groups spent north of $1 billion this campaign season—bankrolled mostly by a small cadre of wealthy contributors—and yet they and their funders, especially on the Republican side, were left with little to show for it when the sun rose Wednesday morning. The GOP's flagship super-PAC, Karl Rove's American Crossroads, had an abysmal 1 percent return on its $104 million investment. Megadonor Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, invested $57 million in 2012 races; only 42 percent of the candidates who received Adelson support won. Other big donors—say, Romney super-PAC backers—got nothing for their money. Rove and his allies are bound to have a bunch of angry rich guys on their case. Which begs the question: Will the Republican Party's biggest bankrollers stick by Rove, super-PACs, and politically charged nonprofits—or do they shut their wallets and move on?
washingtonpost.com — “I want to thank every American who participated in this election,” President Obama said in his acceptance speech Tuesday, “whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time.” At the mention of long waits, Obama paused. “By the way, we have to fix that.” Election Day saw news story after news story about interminable lines at polling stations. In some areas, people waited for two hours, three hours, or more. To many observers, it seemed ludicrous that a country as advanced and as wealthy as the United States can’t figure out how to hold a decent election. So what was the problem? And is there anything Obama and Congress can do to make our voting system more efficient? I put this question to a couple of experts, and got back five broad suggestions for ways that both the states and even the federal government could improve our voting infrastructure and reduce long wait
colorlines.com — In his victory speech, President Obama was generous with his thanks, notably showing appreciation for those who participated actively in democracy, giving a shout out to everyone who “voted for the very first time, or waited in line for a very long time,” before adding to loud cheers, “By the way, we have to fix that.” Here’s why we need to fix that. All voters didn’t have to wait in long lines. When you look at the pictures, you find mostly people of color in those lines that stretched literally as long as the day. Those voters, many of them low-income who missed work and had to pay babysitters to stand in lines that long, bore the burden of democracy so that we could move forward. Not only that, but they withstood voter suppression, intimidation and utter confusion so that the nation wouldn’t move backwards to a time where that and a lot worse was the norm during elections.
truthdig.com — The voters in Ohio’s 8th District had better be happy with Republican Rep. John Boehner. They have no choice. No Democrat is opposing the incumbent, who’s been in office since 1990 and ran uncontested once before in 1994. But Boehner is not alone. He is one of 58 incumbents this election running without a challenger, according to a FairVote report published in July called “Monopoly Politics.” Another 270 races out of 435 are so heavily dominated by one party or the other to render the races meaningless. There are 74 districts that are “balanced,” within the margins of 54 percent to 46 percent for either candidate. Districts are traded like baseball cards between the two major parties. The shrinking number of districts that remain competitive become the center of campaigns. They are the last pockets where Democrats and Republicans can each mine votes.