Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The 10 percent solution

By Bill Kraus

I suppose the most important, and distressing, takeaway from the August 12 primary is that most of the races in the state Assembly and more than a few in the Senate were settled that day. They joined the large number of other candidates who had no opponent. To summarize: A majority of the state legislature was picked by 10 percent of the voters.

The fact that the primary is now held before the middle of August didn’t help. But, beyond that, wondering how important it is to require stringent identification standards to a process that doesn’t draw flies, it’s hard to figure out how to excite voters about being disenfranchised by gerrymandering. Or maybe that’s why they aren’t voting. Why bother when you and your votes don’t count? The voters are not stupid. They know that the game is rigged.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mushroom communications

Political leaders think we are best when kept in the dark.

By Bill Kraus

A couple of the tacit assumptions that made the founding fathers think that the democracy they were inventing would work have fallen on hard times.

They assumed there would be open, communicative, accessible, and responsive legislatures and legislators.

They assumed that there would be a common public communication system which would provide the voters with the information they needed to select their legislators and judge their performance.

In reverse order then…the common communication system was for most of our history the print press. It was not common in a monolithic sense, but it was journalistically comprehensive, maybe overly so.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Legislators or lemmings

By Bill Kraus

The candidate for the Assembly is running in a district which traditionally votes 70 percent Democratic, and he is running against an incumbent who once was mayor of a city within the district which comprises a substantial portion of the Assembly district.

This is not a promising opportunity.

He is running as a Libertarian.

This diminishes his already-almost-hopeless prospects of winning.

As we talked it became clear that he is about as libertarian as most Republicans are and he really should be running as a Republican.

Although the Republican who ran for the seat in 2012 got less than 30 percent of the vote, a Libertarian surely would have gotten even less.

So why isn’t he running as a Republican?