A blindspot for the left | Three Things Thursday

Unite America

One hundred years ago, something amazing happened. 

After years of protests, conferences, speeches, and activism, women gained the right to vote. 

30 years after Wyoming became the first state in the union to guarantee women the right to vote, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th amendment, solidifying its passage, ensuring all women had the right to vote. 

(Well, all white women). 

Creating a more perfect union isn’t easy; it’s a long and arduous process that requires bringing different voices to the table to fulfill the promises of the founders of our nation. From start to finish, the battle for women’s suffrage took over 70 years. 

But here’s the remarkable thing: after the 19th amendment was ratified by the first states in 1919, it only took a year for it to pass nationwide. 

When it comes to political reform, progress happens slowly, then all at once. Today’s big thing: don’t give up.

Here are three things you should read this week. 

  1. Let’s talk about mailboxes

There’s a lot of political maneuvering that’s going on ahead of this November’s elections. The President is working to undermine American’s faith in the mail-in voting process, making false claims about fraud, while openly admitting to insufficiently funding the post office in hopes that it prevents mail-in voting from being able to take place. Rightly, there are a number of outlets, experts, and leaders calling this behavior out. 

But there’s also a lot of misinformation going around; there’s a lot of fear mongering about what is and isn’t being done by the Trump administration ahead of this year’s election. On social media especially, users have taken to posting misleading and simply false images, claiming they show the destruction of our institutions. And those on the right aren’t wrong: the media isn’t doing a good enough job of calling that sort of behavior out.

  1. This election, throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

This election is going to take everything we’ve got, as Americans, as voters, and as election administrators. In a number of states, there simply isn’t the capacity to ramp-up 100% vote at home elections in the two and a half months we have to prepare; nor can we guarantee that voting in-person will be entirely safe in November. The best thing that those in power can do to ensure a safe and secure election — one that empowers all Americans to vote — is to throw every tool we have in the voting playbook at the wall, and see what sticks. 

In Maryland, that’s exactly what Republican governor Larry Hogan has said he intends to do, yet for some reason, Hogan is facing a lot of grief for saying it. New this week from Unite America board member Neal Simon: a defense of governor Larry Hogan. Hogan’s plan to send all registered voters an absentee ballot request form, as well as keep all polling places open for in-person voting, has drawn ire on both the left and the right, as Hogan simply attempts to put voters first. 

Perhaps indignant disapproval from the left and right is validation of Governor Hogan’s nonpartisan success,” Simon writes. “In the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, Governor Hogan is doing his best to ensure election integrity and security.” Check out the full piece here.

  1. Enjoy the conventions, but think about how we could do this better

At long last, we’ve come to the end of primary season. From the Iowa Caucuses way back in February to Super Tuesday and beyond, this primary season has been chaotic to say the least. And while the conventions are a good way for us to marvel at the process finally being over, we should also take this time to reflect on how screwy the process is to begin with. 

We’ve talked about this extensively; over one million votes were wasted on Super Tuesday alone, after three candidates dropped out the Monday before. Over three million votes were wasted in the primary process in general. (Democrats aren’t alone in this struggle; in 2016, half a million votes were wasted over the course of the Republican primary process). 

The end result of this messy process is two candidates that neither side is in love with — because a majority of people voted for someone else. In the Washington Post this week, columnist Henry Olson writes about how the primary process could be fixed with a simple reform: ranked choice voting.

This election is going to take everything we’ve got. Are you ready?

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