First debate, part 2: Democracy reform by the numbers
Maybe the moderators couldn't agree on how to pronounce the word "gerrymandering" in pregame warmups. How else to explain no questions about yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on partisan mapmaking?
Also, is election security not a thing anymore?
Moderators once again overlooked anything related to democracy reform during day two of the first round of Democratic presidential primary debates — as they did on day one. Nonetheless, some of the candidates found ways to slip in their views on topics such as voting rights, money in politics and the cycle of corruption in Washington.
The Fulcrum goes inside the numbers from last night's debate.
17 and 15: Minutes and seconds until the first mention of anything related to democracy reform. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont led the way, rallying against big-money special interests.
"The issue is, who has the guts to take on Wall Street, to take on the fossil fuel industry, to take on the big-money interests who have unbelievable influence over the economic and political life of this country?"
5: "Reform" references. The word "reform" was used a handful of times during this debate, but not in reference to democracy reform. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and California Rep. Eric Swalwell instead spoke about immigration and gun reform.
6: Digs at money in politics. Sanders and Gillibrand dominated the conversation around money in politics during Thursday's debate. While Sanders mostly talked about eliminating special interests, Gillibrand went more in depth by referencing her plan to root out corruption through publicly funded elections.
1: Call for overturning Citizens United. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet was the only candidate to call for invalidating the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling that allowed unlimited outside spending in elections.
3: Russian election interference mentions. California Sen. Kamala Harris, businessman Andrew Yang and Bennet all noted Russia's election interference as America's largest current threat.
1: Nod to gerrymandering. Bennet was alone on the debate stage in acknowledging the issue of gerrymandering in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on two cases of partisan mapmaking earlier in the day.
"We need to end gerrymandering in Washington. We need to end political gerrymandering in Washington. The court today said they couldn't do anything about it."
3: Candidates who said nothing of democracy reform. Author Marianne Williamson, Hickenlooper and Swalwell chose not to talk about any democracy reform issues during Thursday night's debate.
Reform quotes of the night
Gillibrand: "The truth is, until you go to the root of the corruption, the money in politics, the fact that Washington is run by the special interests, you are never going to solve any of these problems."
Buttigieg: "We've got to fix our democracy before it's too late. Get that right, climate, immigration, taxes, and every other issue gets better."
Molineaux and Nevins are co-founders of the Bridge Alliance, a coalition of 100 democracy strengthening organizations. (Disclosure: The Bridge Alliance Education Fund is a funder of The Fulcrum.)
As we look to history, it has always been the mystics and scientists, innovators and outliers who saw the future most clearly and acted to push — or call — society forward, to awaken from our slumber of the way things are and envision a better future. The stories of their personal transformation inspire us to be better individually and collectively. With this inspiration, we can and must transform our nation into a more perfect union.
As co-founders of the Bridge Alliance, we are inspired and challenged by the problems facing our country. Our 100 member organizations work daily to protect the ideals of our American Dream so we can create healthy self-governance that has never fully existed before. Our members work to harness the tension of our differences as we enact our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, balancing individual and community needs.
Election officials are growing increasingly concerned that the Trump administration's trade war with China could make it more difficult and expensive for overseas voters — including those in the military — to cast ballots in the 2019 and 2020 local, state and federal elections.
The issue is the pending withdrawal in October by the U.S. from the Universal Postal Union, a group of 192 nations that has governed international postal service and rates for 145 years.
Last October, the U.S. gave the required one-year notice stating it would leave the UPU unless changes were made to the discounted fees that China pays for shipping small packages to the United States. The subsidized fees — established years ago to help poor, developing countries — place American businesses at a disadvantage and don't cover costs incurred by the U.S. Postal Service.
With the U.S.-imposed deadline for withdrawal or new rates fast approaching, states officials are running out of time to prepare for overseas mail-in voting.