Sixteen of the nation's most prominent political reform groups have been pressing the presidential candidates for six months to be transparent about who's helping them stuff their campaign coffers. They're getting hardly anywhere.
The group put out another plea this week, urging all 19 Democrats remaining in the race, plus President Donald Trump and his three Republican challengers, to "implement a system to regularly and meaningfully disclose information" about their so-called bundlers.
These are the affluent, well-connected people who gather donations from others and deliver those funds in a "bundle" to their favorite candidate — and, if that person ends up in the White House, are very likely to be near the heads of the line for plum positions including ambassadorships and membership on policymaking boards.
The letter urged all the candidates to come clean and take the path of greater transparency when they file their campaign finance reports for the third quarter at the Federal Election Commission next week. But similar letters sent in April and June have produced next to no results.
With the presidential election just over a year away, political advertisements on the Internet are quickly becoming hard to avoid. But there's at least one place online to escape from it all: TikTok.
The trendy video-sharing platform, popular among the members of Generation Z, wants to become a digital space totally safe from both traditional partisan vitriol and the new wave of disinformation that has sullied the last couple of elections. And so it announced last week that it is barring all ads related to candidates and political issues in the United States.
Although many of the app's 80 million users are not yet old enough to vote, TikTok's politics-free zone provides a unique experience at a time when other social media platforms are rife with paid election content.
Shannon is the founder of Negative.vote, which is promoting statewide ballot initiatives to allow voters to register firm opposition to one candidate in each race.
Many reformers are partisans in disguise. Here's one way you can tell: If someone advocates for something called ranked-choice voting, they either intend to disempower independent voters by eliminating pesky independent or reform candidates to the benefit of the two-party system, or they don't fully understand how RCV works.
Many professors advocate for ranked-choice voting, which is decoy reform at best. We could just as well prohibit all independent or opposition candidates from getting on the ballot in the first place, as Russia itself has done, because that is the ultimate effect of RCV. It is designed to eliminate independent candidates.
Watch out, America. Russia apparently is planning to try the old bait and switch.
Having stirred worry across the United States with their documented efforts to try to hack the 2016 election, Russian operatives are expected in 2020 to face stronger and more secure election infrastructure — featuring fewer voting systems that can be penetrated and more paper records that can be used to check that vote totals are correct.
But, wait. According to CNN and other news outlets, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security sent a joint warning statement in the past few days to state election officials saying they think Russia may focus instead on voter suppression next November.