We Have Until the End of the Year to Save Net Neutrality

 

net neutrality, Congress, save net neutrality

 

To be honest, net neutrality won’t necessarily end until we stop fighting, but getting the Congressional Review Act Discharge Petition signed in the U.S. House of Representatives is our latest battle. And it is a battle worth fighting.

As I discussed in May, the Senate started its own discharge petition. That was process was started by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and it eventually passed the chamber one week after it was formally introduced. In the end, Senate Democrats received the help of three Republicans: Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), the now-disgraced Susan Collins, and John Kennedy (Louisiana) in a surprising move.

The passage of the petition was crucial because Congress had a 60-work-day window to act after Ajit Pai rolled out his plan to end net neutrality, which took effect on June 11. Since the process in the Senate was started in May, Democrats in the Senate got a head start. However, the House needed to pass its own petition by the end of the year and that process was always going to be harder.

In the Senate, Democrats needed only 30 signatures to force a vote on the CRA petition. They also needed to vote together and get 2 extra votes to pass the legislation. In the House, 218 signatures were required to even get a vote, so Democrats needed far more help from Republicans in that chamber.

Currently, there are only 197 seats held by Democrats in the House. In order to get a vote on CRA legislation, Democrats need to band together, but receive the help of 21 Republicans. If those weren’t difficult enough, there is now another complication: at least 17 Democrats have failed to sign the petition thus far.


Who Are Those Democrats?

As reported by Motherboard, there were 18 Democrats who failed to sign the petition at the beginning of this month. Two of those Democrats, Joseph Morelle (from New York’s 25th Congressional District) and Mary Kay Scanlon (from Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District) won special elections this year and Scanlon was recently sworn in. However, only Morelle indicated that he would sign the petition and the other Democrats, including Scanlon, had received generous donations from the telecom industry.

Below is a list of Democrats who have failed to sign the petition thus far (minus Morelle). The screenshot was taken from Motherboard’s article:

Democrats, Congress, net neutrality, Congressional Review Act, discharge petition

Since then, Morelle made good on his promise. Also, Rep. Wilson signed on. Thus, here is a revised list:

Democrats, Congress, net neutrality, Congressional Review Act, discharge petition


What Can We Do to Save Net Neutrality?

We need to contact the lawmakers who aren’t already on board, and that will include some Republicans. I really hate talking on the phone, but that’s one thing I can do.


How Much Time Do We Have?

We don’t have a lot of time, but we were recently given a reprieve by Trump himself because he started pushing hard for the stupid border wall — yet again. (Today, he held a meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the oval office to discuss the wall and threatened to shut down the government if there wasn’t $5 billion for that wall in the next spending bill.) We had until December 10 for the House to sign the petition and get a vote, but because of the upcoming budget fight, the legislative session in Congress has been extended. We might have until the 21st to get that vote, but that is much better than we had.


Can We Do This?

Now, even if the CRA legislation is passed by the House, it still has to be signed by Trump. That seems like a longshot, to say the least, but if we play it right, we might be able to put enough pressure on Trump to sign it. (It would depend on the Republicans who vote in favor of the legislation, too, but public opinion is well in favor of net neutrality.)

Even if Trump vetoes the legislation, we will make a powerful statement by getting both house of Congress on board before the new Democratic majority in the House. And it will mean that we will need to remove Republicans from the Senate in order to restore net neutrality. We will see in the coming weeks and months if this is a hill Republicans want to die on. Ultimately, Democrats need to make net neutrality one of their signature platform items because the more people know what net neutrality is and how important it is, the more they like it.

When Are People Going to Learn? Voter-Shaming Does Not Work.

voter-shaming, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Farron Cousins, Democrats, 2018 midterms, absolving the powerful, voting
Unfortunately, former President Barack Obama has engaged in some voter-shaming. That’s why I felt compelled to say that I disagree with his line of attack. I also want to point out that voter-shaming absolves the powerful.

I believe that voter-shaming is a futile exercise and you cannot change my mind.

The 2018 midterms are largely over, but not all races have been decided yet. For example, there is at a runoff in Mississippi today for the last undecided U.S. Senate seat. In the meantime, I’m making a few extra posts this year about voting and this is the second.

If you’ve been following this blog for over a year or looked through my archives, you may have read the posts I made about the general disdain Americans Democrats have for non-voters and third-party voters. In general, Democrats usually blame non-voters and third-party voters for their losses because it is assumed that people from both groups would otherwise for Democrats. Third parties are mocked as being spoilers, jokers, and dreamers. Non-voters are also told that they have no right to complain if they don’t vote.

As I’ve said before, I generally disagree with these assessments, although something must be said about first-past-the-post voting. In such a system, it would behoove one party (usually the Democrats) to only have two choices on the ballot. However, I believe that people should be able to vote the way they want without being guilted.

That said, this post is generally pointed at things said by some people aligned with Democrats (at least in this election, for one person): former President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Farron Cousins. The former president supported a plethora of Democrats running in this year’s midterms. Oprah once supported the former (in 2008) and Stacey Abrams (this year). Cousins prefers Democrats, but he went off the handle (again) and went after other lefties because of two results in his state (Florida).

Continue reading “When Are People Going to Learn? Voter-Shaming Does Not Work.”

Republicans Will Try to Hold onto Their Seats by Cheating

Republicans, cheating, 2018 midterms, elections, blue wave, Democrats, Brian Kemp
Greg Palast (right) accosted Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (left) to ask him about the recent voter purges in the state. Kemp is a Republican running for governor, but he is overseeing the election. The image was taken via screenshot (video).

Two posts ago in this series, I talked about the chances of a blue wave occurring in the 2018 midterms. While one is certainly possible in the House of Representatives (and in governor’s races and in state legislatures), this is likely a bad year for Democrats in the Senate. Also, there are two things that would preclude a blue wave from happening at any level: the missteps of the Democratic Party’s leadership and Republican cheating.

In the previous post in this series, I went into detail about how the Democratic leadership harmed its own chances to at least take over one house of Congress. In this post, I will discuss how Republican cheating will hurt Democrats and voters.

One bit of good news we have moving forward is the demise of Trump’s voter suppression panel. In January 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he was dissolving the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, the advisory council he founded based on the claim that immigrants illegally voted in 2016. The commission was headed by Kris Kobach and nominally chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, but it only met twice, in July and September 2017.

The bad news is that there are so many cases of voter suppression in states controlled, at least in part, by Republicans. At least two of those states have elections officials running for governor.

Before I go into detail about those cases, I would like to talk about the hurdles awaiting Democratic candidates. Some are familiar, but some efforts to suppress the vote are relatively new and were enabled by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision.

Continue reading “Republicans Will Try to Hold onto Their Seats by Cheating”

Featured

These 2018 Midterms Are Tests Because They Will Be Hard

2018 midterms, Senate, House of Representatives, primaries, Democrats, Republicans
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) is a Democratic hoping to unseat a Republican Senator this year. Specifically, he’s running against Sen. Ted Cruz in the general election. Here, O’Rourke can be seen at an event held for the 2016 President’s Leadership Council hosted by Inter-American Dialogue. Image via Flickr by Inter-American Dialogue. Some Rights Reserved.

The 2018 midterm elections are already underway, so I’d thought I’d keep a record of what has happened so far. I’d been thinking about doing something like this before, but my schedule was out of whack and I already passed up a chance to do something similar for 2016. Anyhoo, let’s take a look at the midterms from state to state and see how things are shaping up.

Note: I will need some time to catch up, but there have only been primaries in 10 states held so far. This post will be updated.

Continue reading “These 2018 Midterms Are Tests Because They Will Be Hard”

News Roundup Special: Have You Been Watching This Government Shutdown?

government shutdown, news roundup, Congress, Senate, Democrats, Republicans, DACA, CHIP, military, framing, Capitol Building
Original image: by Andrew Van Huss (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, the U.S. Congress reached an impasse on a spending bill and that lead to a government shutdown. While the House of Representatives was able to pass its spending bill with a 230-197 votes after concessions were made to the House Freedom Caucus, the Democrats in the Senate let it be known that the Republicans didn’t have enough votes.

In the Senate, the Republicans dealt with dissent in their own ranks. By Friday January 19, 2018, the nine Senate Democrats who voted for the spending bill in December joined the 30 Democrats and a handful of Republicans who opposed this spending bill. Among the Republicans joining the Democrats was Jeff Flake (Arizona), who said that he was withholding his vote because of the broken promise to protect DREAMers.

Ultimately, the Senate missed the midnight deadline, so the government was shut down. The shutdown was brief because of a vote on Monday which extended the funding for the government — for three weeks.

Continue reading “News Roundup Special: Have You Been Watching This Government Shutdown?”

Democrats: Clinton, Feinstein, and the ‘Process’

Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Alison Hartson, 2020, 2022, DCCC, memo
The guy on the right is Ben Ray Lujan, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Committee. I don’t really discuss him in this post, but his DCCC is responsible for giving new candidates a questionable memo.

In the previous posts in this series, I talked about current congressional candidates who are running as Democrats (with or without the party’s backing) and some possible presidential candidates. And in each post, I hinted at my displeasure of the party’s process (with regards to promoting and supporting candidates).

The party is still crowing about taking a seat in a red state which last elected a Democratic U.S. senator 25 years ago, but there is still much to learn. Sure, Black voters in Alabama were rightfully praised for showing up and largely supporting Jones, but there were several lessons that race the party needs to take to heart.

Instead, the Democrats are taking all of the wrong lessons from Doug Jones’ victory. Doug Jones himself is taking the wrong lessons from his victory. In particular, some people screamed from the rooftops to tell everyone that centrism worked. They felt that they found a recipe for winning in the age of Trump. But they conveniently ignored other factors in the race.

The truth is Jones barely beat a child predator who refused to be part of a debate. And Jones didn’t even earn a majority of the vote at that.

If the allegations against Roy Moore had never surfaced during the race, Jones would have lost by at least 20 points. Think about that for a minute.

Could Jones have pulled off a more convincing victory under the same circumstances? I honestly don’t know, but the Democrats will need to have stronger showings across the country, but Democrats are doing a lot to mess that up.


What Does This Have to Do with Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein?

There is a connection to Jones, Clinton, Feinstein, and its name is centrism. The party’s leadership and donors prefer centrists, repeating the “consensus” belief that centrists won’t alienate conservatives.

Continue reading “Democrats: Clinton, Feinstein, and the ‘Process’”

Democrats: Who Should ‘We’ Run in 2020? It’s Complicated.

2020, Democrats
Kamala Harris (D-California) may be the leading prospective presidential candidate for the Democrats in 2020. Much can happen before she decides to make a run in 2020, but I feel she is the top candidate. I might not like it, but there it is.

While some analysts warn that there shouldn’t be a focus on 2020, now is really the best time to start thinking ahead. The presidential race will last for about a year and a half, so it would serve Democrats well now to survey their politicians, allow the best to rise to the top, and give America a good look at them.

And as this post is about the future of the Democratic Party and a number of names have already popped up. I would like to discuss them.

Additionally, this list illustrates the ongoing problems with the party:

  • There are two few rising stars in the party. I can name some on one hand.
  • Most of the people with big names in the party are in their 60’s or above.

I agree that the 2020 field already looks weak due to these reasons.

With that said, here is a list of 10+ candidates already being mentioned for 2020 (in no particular order).

Continue reading “Democrats: Who Should ‘We’ Run in 2020? It’s Complicated.”

Democrats: Who Should ‘We’ Run in 2018? Who Excites Me?

2018, run in 2018, Democrats, Democratic Party, midterm elections
The Senate race in West Virginia excites me. Although I wouldn’t want Joe Manchin’s seat to turn read, he is essentially a Republican.

Who should the Democrats run in 2018? That’s not an easy question to answer, but of course, many people have already started their races for next year.

Let’s cut to the chase: The 2018 midterm elections might be a bloodbath in favor of the Democrats, but only if they play their cards right.

Continue reading “Democrats: Who Should ‘We’ Run in 2018? Who Excites Me?”

If You Told Me That Alabama Could Turn Blue …

Alabama, Alabama race, U.S. Senate, Doug, Jones, Roy Moore, special election, blue, Democrats, Republicans

If you told me the Alabama race for the U.S. Senate seat would end like this …

I’m going to be honest with you. I was fully ready to go off today, but a miracle happened: Doug Jones won the Senate seat vacated by one Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. This was totally unexpected result, but it was a close one.

I loosely followed the news about this race, but I knew the odds were against Democrats running in a deep red state. Democrat Doug Jones had never run for office before, Donald Trump carried the state of Alabama in 2016 by 28 points, and the last time a Democrat held a U.S. Senate seat for Alabama, Richard Shelby had won reelection 25 years ago. (Richard Shelby became a Republican in 1994; he still holds his seat in the Senate.)

Coming into Tuesday, December 12, 2017, Jones trailed in most polls. Despite the allegations against Republican Roy Moore, the former judge was expected to win. Yet in the end, the race was a very close one.

All eyes were on Alabama because a Moore election would have serious implications for the Republican Party, the state, the nation, and political discourse in this country. A Jones win would be a good sign for the Democratic Party. Regardless, this was a lose-lose situation for Republicans.

Now, what does this mean for the Democrats? I don’t have a complete answer, but let’s look at what transpired and see what we can find.

Continue reading “If You Told Me That Alabama Could Turn Blue …”

[Side Rant] Take Your ‘Ideological Purity’ and Shove It …

HowardDeanDNC

I used to like Howard Dean back in the day, then he became a sellout. Don’t decry ideological purity when you’re a dirty lobbyist, man.

Right now,  I have a million thoughts swimming through my head. I’m waaaaay behind this week and I’ve been procrastinating, but I didn’t want this day to go by without making a post. What is this about? As the title suggests, this post is partly about the meme of “ideological purity.”

This past day, I decided to debate another lefty. We have some key disagreements about policy (and recent history) but so far, our discussions have been pleasantly civil.

However, some of the things we were talking about make me want to go off on a rant.

Continue reading “[Side Rant] Take Your ‘Ideological Purity’ and Shove It …”