Donate
News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
MOST READ
Get some leverage.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter.

Voting
True
Sean Rayford/Stringer/Getty Images

"Trump called for South Carolina's Republicans to flood the Democratic primary. They didn't," argues John Opdycke.

Lessons to be learned from the ‘real’ Operation Chaos in South Carolina

Opdycke is the president of Open Primaries, a national election reform organization that advocates for open and nonpartisan primary systems.

For weeks leading up to the pivotal South Carolina primary, the media warned of a sinister plot hatched by President Trump and Rush Limbaugh called "Operation Chaos."

Pundits warned that tens of thousands of sleeper-cell Republicans were being prepped to flood the polls during the Democratic presidential contest two weekends ago in a cynical (but legal in states with nonpartisan voter registration) effort to push Bernie Sanders to victory — on the theory the Vermont senator would be the weakest Trump opponent in the general election. Hundreds of hours of cable news histrionics reinforced this narrative. Social media was abuzz with dire warnings about the dangers of allowing people to vote in ways not deemed appropriate or legitimate.

Except it was all hype. It didn't happen.

So what's the problem?

Keep reading... Show less
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter.

Voting
True
Lighvision, LLC/Getty Inmages

"Election reform only makes sense if it helps real people dismantle barriers and create a better future together," argue Jessie Fields and John Opdycke.

Push for open primaries in St. Louis is good for the country

Fields is on the board of Open Primaries, a national election reform organization that advocates for open and nonpartisan primary systems. Opdycke is its president.

Open Primaries recently endorsed the STL Approves campaign in St. Louis for approval voting and nonpartisan primaries. It's an important effort, not just for the city, but for the country.

We join local community and civil rights leaders including City Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Democratic Party Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge, the Rev. Darryl Gray, the League of Women Voters, Show Me Integrity and the Center for Election Science in endorsing this initiative.

St. Louis is one of only a few remaining major cities — New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Louisville, Indianapolis, Charlotte and Washington are the others — that conduct partisan municipal elections. It's a lousy system. Candidates must first win a partisan primary, and then compete in a general election. More than 80 percent of cities conduct nonpartisan elections and let all voters vote for whomever they want in both the first and second rounds. Like many cities completely dominated by one party, the only election that counts in St. Louis is the Democratic primary; whoever wins the Democratic Primary is the de facto winner.

Keep reading... Show less
Big Picture
True
Getty Images

Both President Trump and former Attorney General Eric Holder have said they want to fix parts of the system, but really they are working to help their own parties, writes Opdycke.

On reform, both parties should start by looking inward

Opdycke is president of Open Primaries, which advocates for nonpartisan primaries open to all voters.

End Citizens United, a political action committee, is urging Democratic presidential contenders to champion anti-corruption to defeat President Trump. Tom Steyer's entry into the race may help bolster this argument. His launch video stresses the importance of addressing voter frustration with big party and big money control: "Really what we are trying to do is make democracy work by pushing power down to the people."

"It's key to winning back independents, the kind of independents that Democrats have lost over the last couple cycles," Adam Bozzi, vice president for communications at End Citizens United, told Politico. "It's a jump ball: Voters don't know who to trust, whether it's Trump or a Democrat, on this issue."

There are reasons that voters — most especially independents — don't know who to trust to "drain the swamp."

The biggest lack of trust is that politicians, including those who speak out on reform, are consistently silent on the corruption within their own parties.

Keep reading... Show less