Supreme Court Says Gerrymandering Fix Up To Voters, Not Judges

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Supreme Court Says Gerrymandering Fix Up To Voters, Not Judges

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that partisan gerrymandering is not unconstitutional.

The majority ruled that gerrymandering is outside the scope and power of the federal courts to adjudicate. The issue is a political one, according to the court, not a legal one.

“Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority decision. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary.”

So for now, partisan gerrymandering, in which politicians get to choose their voters rather than voters choose their representatives, will remain a fact of American political life.

What is the background to this decision? And what does the decision mean for democracy in the U.S.?

Democrats Court Rural Southern Voters With Stacey Abrams’ State of the Union Response

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Democrats Court Rural Southern Voters With Stacey Abrams’ State of the Union Response

By Sharon Austin, Professor of Political Scieence and Director of the African American Studies Program, University of Florida. First published on The Conversation

In a brief, direct and optimistic speech about fighting immigrant scapegoating, racism and voter suppression, Stacey Abrams celebrated diversity in her Democratic rebuttal to Donald Trump’s divisive 2019 State of the Union address.

“We will create a stronger America together,” she said.

Abrams is the first African-American woman to deliver a State of the Union response in the 53-year history of this tradition. She is the first black woman to be nominated by a major party to run for governor. Before that, she was the first African-American ever to serve as House minority leader in the Georgia General Assembly.

Her State of the Union response has increased speculation that she is a rising political starwith a bright future in the Democratic Party.

By choosing Abrams to give the State of the Union response, Democrats were clearly reaching out to African-Americans and women, a key base for the party.

But Abrams’ speech also spoke to an often-overlooked constituency the Democratic Party may not have even thought about when they picked her. It’s a constituency Abrams has already cultivated: rural Southerners of color.

Abrams campaigned in both urban and rural counties last year, defying the logic of a Democratic Party that tends to court big city voters while leaving rural Americans to be won over by Republicans like Donald Trump.

Who's For Burning It All Down? American Women Are Thinking About The French Revolution

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Who's For Burning It All Down? American Women Are Thinking About The French Revolution

I've been thinking and reading a lot about the French Revolution this past week. The willingness of the French to have both a carving of Lilith AND Eve with Adam on the Notre Dame Cathedral tells me not to be afraid.

Unlike John Ashcroft throwing a drape over Lady Justice's naked breast in the nation's capitol, the French have never covered up Adam, Lilith and Eve -- Adam's first wife but she was too bossy and stormed out of the Garden of Eden, refusing to submit to Adam.

So France survived the French Revolution. I haven't checked on the tiki torches or just how unruly the mobs became, but France survived -- white male superiority intact, but they did get rid of the king. Writer Maya Singer is on the same track, and she makes a lot of sense.

And this pondering of a burn it down revolution is written for Vogue magazine. VOGUE MAGAZINE IN AMERICA. Bob Dylan would be proud.

When Trump tells you all those college-educated white Republican women leaving the party are running home to take care of their men and male children after the Kavanaugh hearings, don't take the bite of this poison apple.

Educated Republican women can walk and chew gum at the same time. You know . . . womanly multitasking, brains firing on all cylinders.. . that sort of thing. I quote Maya Singer:

"If you’d asked me, before last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings with Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, where we were on the road to revolution, I’d have said we were somewhere around “the people are very mad but they’re working within the system.” As of today, I feel like the revolution could kick off any minute now, because with the vote to send Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the GOP (and Joe Manchin) have officially flipped us the bird.

When I say “us,” I mean all of us. Not just women. Not just Democrats. Standing by Brett Kavanaugh—a historically disliked nominee, with crappy poll numbers (even before Dr. Ford came forward with a credible allegation that he’d sexually assaulted her in their teens) who walked right up to the line of perjuring himself in his Senate testimony and exposed himself as a both a jerk and a partisan hack—was, make no mistake about it, a display of power. A president who badly lost the popular vote, abetted by 51 Senators who represent a mere 44 percent of Americans, rammed through their nominee just to show us they could. Trump and McConnell could have easily jettisoned Kavanaugh in favor of an equally conservative replacement; instead, fearful of looking weak, they stuck with him, not in spite of all the protest but because of it. God forbid they seem to entertain the concerns of their constituents, because then those constituents might think they have a claim on how this country is run, and who for.

Ask yourself: For whom, right now, is this country being run?"

Straight-Talkin', Fully Informed Amy McGrath Wins Upset In Kentucky 6th District Democrat Primary

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Straight-Talkin', Fully Informed Amy McGrath Wins Upset In Kentucky 6th District Democrat Primary

AOC has been all-in with Kentucky District 6 House candidate Amy McGrath, jumping for joy over her stunning Tuesday night victory over Jim Gray, Lexington's well-liked and Democratic-party backed former mayor. 

The New York Times writes that Republicans immediately tried to paint the Marine fighter pilot and mother of three as a far left candidate, while the very national Dems who backed her opponent Gray rallied quickly around her. AOC has no such torn allegiances, as we have been for McGrath all the way. 

"I have never heard someone so persistent," her campaign's highly-credentialed ad maker Mark Putnam told the Times. 

Amy McGrath has a story about refusing to accept the word "no": No, you cannot compete against the boys in sports. No, you cannot serve in combat or fly fighter jets. And no, you certainly cannot defeat the popular mayor of the largest city in your congressional district as a first-time candidate.

What I personally love deeply about Amy is not only her feminism, but her willingness to stand up to Trump. Of all the candidates running for office -- female or male -- McGrath won my heart with her second campaign video by Putnam. 

Her third one about taking her kids to the doctor was pretty good, too. 

Brains Over Brawn: MSNBC Ratings Up 30% As Fox News Declines 13% 2018 Q1

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Brains Over Brawn: MSNBC Ratings Up 30% As Fox News Declines 13% 2018 Q1

Democratic strategists are seeing another reason for optimism about the midterms: soaring ratings for liberal-leaning MSNBC are up 30 percent over last year, while Fox News and CNN both lost viewers from the first quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018 — dropping 16 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

I say the ratings surge 1) yes, represents the growing resurgence of the Democratic party but

2) MSNBC has also brought multiple Republican or now Independent never-Trumpers to its voice. Many of the most left-leaning progressives believe that MSNBC has sold its soul and are not happy about these changes.

I say the results confirm the same research posted last night about the new Democratic party: more female than ever; more educated, strategic and thoughtful; younger by far than the Republican party; more interested in solutions as opposed to daily rants Trump style; and --yes -- totally committed to a diverse, multicultural, safe America, environmental action and protection, gender and LGBTQ equality, economic justice and -- I repeat -- progressive business solutions to the problems of 21st century America. Apologies for obvious omissions.

Government alone cannot get us out of this mess.

So FOX News makes us crazy with their outrageous assault on everyone but Trump. But their ratings are down 13% while MSNBC is up 30%. Rhodes scholar Rachel Maddow has the #2 show on cable news and sometimes she does beat Hannity, who did not get a college degree. Rachel is on the move, Hannity is not.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Mn.) Accused of Groping & Forcible Kissing By Broadcaster Leeann Tweeden

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Sen. Al Franken (D-Mn.) Accused of Groping & Forcible Kissing By Broadcaster Leeann Tweeden

Broadcaster and model Leeann Tweeden said on Thursday that Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken "forcibly kissed" and groped her during a 2006 USO tour. Franken has apologized and called for a Senate investigation into his own actions. 

“You knew exactly what you were doing,” Tweeden wrote in a blog post. “You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later and be ashamed.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the Senate Ethics Committee to review the 11-year-old allegations against Franken, who first issued a brief statement of apology, then later a longer one in which he called for an investigation, saying, “I will gladly cooperate.”

Tweeden's 2006 USO tour was the ninth for the Fox Sports Network correspondent and fitness model,writes The Washington Post. Franken was an Air America radio host just months away from announcing his Senate candidacy.