American democracy has taken a beating over the last four years, but Election Day may set the table for historic reforms.
The severe stress test for democratic norms can be counted on to further intensify if President Trump gets re-elected. Continuation of a divided Congress would likely perpetuate gridlock on most policy fronts. But should Joe Biden win the White House, and the Senate turn Democratic as well, the new president would take office with an ambitious stack of ready-to-go democracy reform bills on his desk — all of them strongly backed by Democrats newly in control of the entire Capitol.
And those sweeping overhauls of the laws governing campaign financing, voting rights, gerrymandering, executive branch ethics, the courts and even the inner workings of Congress would all be both on the table and viable. The question would be how high they would be on a Biden priority list and how much political capital he and his congressional allies would be willing to spend to get them done.
- Democrats unveil plan to rein in the presidency in 2021 - The Fulcrum ›
- Democracy advocates plea with Biden not to downgrade reforms ... ›
- Democratic ticket hasn't pushed the reform agenda - The Fulcrum ›
- Biden unveils his democracy reform agenda - The Fulcrum ›
- Puerto Rico votes for statehood - The Fulcrum ›
Conservatives hoping to prevent private money from helping Americans vote have so far taken direct aim at just a couple of billionaires: Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who on Tuesday announced another $100 million in donations to help local governments conduct comprehensive and safe balloting in three weeks.
The donation follows their previous gift of $300 million, which has prompted lawsuits from the right in eight battleground states arguing that such benevolence should not be permitted to cover election administration costs.
But the Facebook philanthropists are among hundreds of business leaders who have stepped forward to help cash-strapped election officials scrambling to put enough poll workers, protective gear and infrastructure in place to avert chaos on Election Day. From the four dozen stadiums that sports leagues have opened as polling sites to the millions worth of face shields, masks and safety supplies donated to election workers by major corporations — the private sector's investment in this election is without precedent.
- With no federal relief, states are on their own for election - The Fulcrum ›
- Debate, and more suits, sparked by spurt of private funds for election ... ›
There is no silver bullet that will save this pandemic-plagued election. When the president calls on his supporters to commit a felony by voting twice, and on the same day his attorney general fabricates a fake election fraud indictment, it's clear the climax of 2020 will be like no presidential race before.
But there's one solution that is so affordable, practical and achievable that it deserves special notice: ballot drop boxes.
For voters too afraid of the coronavirus to turn up at the polls, and worried the Postal Service will be too overwhelmed to deliver ballots on time, drop boxes — secure, locked structures that can be temporary or permanent — offer a relatively simple and confidence-boosting fix. Drop boxes are increasingly popular, may be installed at the discretion of local election officials, and will be used more widely than ever this year.
- Pennsylvania to pay for postage for absentee ballots - The Fulcrum ›
- Florida settles lawsuit on expanded voting - The Fulcrum ›
- Ohio Democrats sue for more election drop boxes - The Fulcrum ›
- Pennsylvania Democrats counter Trump with their own lawsuit - The ... ›
- Proponents give up fight for more ballot boxes in Ohio - The Fulcrum ›
- Vote Smarter 2020: Is it safe to return your ballot in a drop box? - The Fulcrum ›