Political Reform Program

Archives: Political Reform Program Articles and Op-Eds

California's Great Disconnect: The Governed and the Government

  • By
  • David Lesher,
  • New America Foundation
January 1, 2005 |

It may seem incredible, but supposedly blue-state California is hemorrhaging Democrats.

Since 1990, when a majority of voters were registered Democrats, the party's share of the electorate has dropped to just 43 percent today. In fact, even as the state has grown, the number of Democratic voters has shrunk. There are about 100,000 fewer Democrats today than there were nearly 10 years ago, even though there are nearly 2 million more voters.

Democracy at a Crossroads

  • By
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
January 1, 2005 |

California's political institutions and practices are outdated and no longer reflect the vibrancy and diversity of our state in the 21st century. Key political institutions are badly in need of an overhaul to make them better suited for the new California and its wide range of attitudes, demographics and geographic regions.

Calls For Electoral Standards Mount

  • By
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Rob Richie
December 22, 2004 |

The day after Election 2004, retiring NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw indicated the need for strong national standards in how we count the votes. In an unusually serious interview with David Letterman, Brokaw said point blank, "We've gotta fix the election system in this country."

America: Restoring Democracy

  • By
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Rob Richie
December 21, 2004 |

The day following Election 2004, retiring NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw indicated the need for strong national standards in how we count the votes. In an unusually serious interview with David Letterman, Brokaw said point blank, "We've gotta fix the election system in this country."

The $20,000 Bargain to Keep Your Seat

  • By
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
December 5, 2004 |

What if you could pay the modest sum of $20,000 and end up with lifetime employment at a salary of $158,000 annually plus the best health and retirement benefits, frequent travel to Washington, D.C., and staff and paid expenses, all on the public's dime? What a deal, eh?

As the most recent election results show, that's the plum situation for California's congressional delegation as a result of gerrymandering their own legislative district lines in 2001.

A Solution to the Electoral Meltdown

  • By
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
December 3, 2004 |

For the past month, San Diego voters have been witnessing the breakdown of the method used to elect the mayor. That method is so confusing that San Diego still does not know the winner four weeks after the election. Blame and finger pointing are dividing the city. The legal costs of several lawsuits, as well as the expense of an unnecessary second election to determine the winner, is hitting taxpayers in the wallet.

Popular Fiction

  • By
  • Jacob Hacker,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Paul Pierson
November 16, 2004 |

No sooner had the red and blue ink dried on the maps of election commentators than triumphant Republicans began talking about their clear mandate for an ambitious domestic agenda. The people have spoken, Republicans proclaimed, and what they have said is that they favor the conservative agenda on taxes, Social Security, health care, gay marriage, and abortion. The administration, their humble servant, has a solemn duty to execute their wishes.

Winner Take All Politics Feeds Militarizaion

  • By
  • Steven Hill,
  • New America Foundation
March 17, 2003 |

Advocates of political reform often make their case for change based on the fairer representation it will provide to people of color, women, third parties, and even Democrats and Republicans living in opposition districts. But what is equally compelling is a growing awareness that our "winner-take-all" electoral system has a distinct impact on policy. One of the clearest examples is the recent rush to war, and beyond that the extraordinary rise in military spending even before September 11.

How the Majority Can Rule

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • Ted Halstead,
  • New America Foundation
March 19, 2002 |

On March 5 voters in San Francisco helped change American democracy. They gave their approval to Proposition A, which calls for the adoption of new rules for electing the mayor, city attorney, district attorney, Board of Supervisors and other city officials.

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