Democracy & Government

Voting Rights Fact Sheet


  • On the Frontlines: A Mayor's Roundtable

    The Sanders Institute brought together four mayors who are truly on the frontlines of the progressive movement at The Gathering. Mayors Bill DeBlasio of New York City, Carmen Yulin Cruz of San Juan, Michael Tubbs of Stockton California and Ada Colau of Barcelona Spain came together to share innovative progressive policies, successes they have had and plans for the future.

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  • Puerto Rico: Austerity or a Green New Deal

    Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Almost three thousand Puerto Ricans died, infrastructure and energy systems were devastated, and it will take many years for Puerto Rico to recuperate. With this crisis has come a decision for Puerto Rico: Austerity, or rebuilding using a Green New Deal framework. At the Sanders Institute Gathering, we brought together Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, economist Robert Pollin, and community land trust expert John Davis to talk about the path forward for Puerto Rico.

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  • Robert Reich: American Democracy Seems Rigged Because It Is

    In the 2018 midterms, Americans demanded an end to the corruption. And there are signs lawmakers are finally getting message. House Democrats’ first piece of legislation aims to end the big-money takeover.

    This article, by Robert Reich argues why getting money out of politics is the most important thing we can do to save our democracy. 

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  • Start with why -- how great leaders inspire action

    In this Ted Talk, Simon Sinek breaks down how great leaders approach any task, company, or even running for office. He demonstrates how they do not begin with "what" they will do, he demonstrates how they "Start with why." 

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  • Robert Reich: The Shutdown and the Economic Precipice

    I was in Bill Clinton’s cabinet when Newt Gingrich pulled the plug on the federal government in 1996. It wasn’t a pretty picture. A long shutdown hurts millions of people who rely on government for services and paychecks.

    Trump’s shutdown also adds to growing worries about the economy...

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  • How to Fix Western Democracy

    We need to set the bar higher for our elected officials, candidates, the media and ourselves.

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  • It's Up To You

    Okay. Time to stop complaining about Trump.  November 6 is your chance to create a firewall against this catastrophe, and flip the House and even the Senate.

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  • Why I'm Betting on Millennials This November 6th

    Millennials (and their younger siblings, generation Z’s) are the largest, most diverse and progressive group of potential voters in American history, comprising fully 30 percent of the voting age population.

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  • Why We Should Be Protesting the National Anthem

    So let me say it: I am protesting the anthem.

    I am protesting its deeply bigoted author - who owned human beings for convenience and profit.

    And I am protesting injustice in this nation on behalf of so many families that continue to experience systematic racism, police brutality, and inequality — all while others expect us to get up and sing with a heart full of happiness.

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  • The Dangerous Myth of Deregulation

    They say getting rid of regulations frees up businesses to be more profitable. Maybe. But regulations also protect you and me - from being harmed, fleeced, shafted, injured, or sickened by corporate products and services.

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  • VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: End the Unconstitutional War in Yemen Now

    For too long, the United States has turned a blind eye to the atrocities being committed against civilians in Yemen by the Saudi-U.S. coalition. Just last month, the Saudi-led coalition dropped a U.S.-made bomb in adevastating attack on a school bus that killed 40 children; just the latest in a long string of horrors in this genocidal war that has killed tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians, with bombs and mass starvation, creating the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

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  • 10 Steps to Finding Common Ground

    Most Americans aren’t passionate conservatives or liberals, Republicans or Democrats. But they have become impassioned for or against Trump.

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  • The Biggest Threat to Our Democracy That You Haven't Heard Of

    The biggest threat to our democracy that nobody is talking about is the real possibility of a rogue Constitutional convention - empowering extremists to radically reshape the Constitution, our laws, and our country. 

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  • The Roadblock to Common Sense Pension Reform

    55 million Americans - about half of the entire private-sector workforce — have no employer-sponsored retirement plan at all. Many work for small businesses in the low-wage service and hospitality sectors. If they don’t save money independently, they will have nothing when they stop working. 

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  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Leads Legislation to Expand Nationwide Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection

     “Every year in Hawai‘i, more than 50,000 women are victims of domestic violence. While domestic violence continues to be an epidemic in our country and we have much more work to do, funding through the Violence Against Women Act has been critical to providing survivors and their families with resources, support, and care and also holding those responsible accountable. However these funds run out on September 30th - there is no time to waste. Congress needs to rise above partisan politics and come together to pass this life-saving legislation now.”

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  • CPSI Keynote Remarks

    "We’re living at an important time in America. A time that cries out for creative problem-solving, for redefining the problems and the opportunities and devising innovative responses and solutions."

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  • The Military-Industrial Drain

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower once noted, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." 

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  • The Unconstitutional Census Power Grab

    The Trump administration’s decision to alter the 2020 Census to ask people if they are American citizens is an unconstitutional power grab that would hurt many disadvantaged Americans.

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  • Voter Turnout is Everything

    The largest political party in America isn’t the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. It’s the Party of Non-Voters.

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  • How to End Partisan Gerrymandering

    One of the biggest challenges to our democracy occurs when states draw congressional district lines with the principal goal of helping one political party and hurting the other. It’s called “partisan gerrymandering.” 

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  • Why Don't Americans Vote?

    We call ourselves a Democracy - a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. However, the sad truth is that America has very low rates of participation in our “democracy.” 

    Only 55.7% of Americans voted in the last election (around 27% each for President Trump and Secretary Clinton). This is not normal for advanced democracies. We looked into the many barriers that Americans face when heading to the polls.

    First, there are significant portions of our population who are disenfranchised. 

    Felons- 6.1 million Americans cannot vote because of felony disenfranchisement. 

    People without ID– 21 million Americans do not have government-issued ID and many of them cannot vote in 34 states that require it. In addition, these ID laws disproportionately disenfranchise minority populations.

    American Citizens in Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the North Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands and D.C. –4.4 million Americans in these American territories and the district are represented by one “delegate” each in the House of Representatives (who can only vote on procedural matters) and only D.C. can vote for president. 

    Unaffiliated Primary Voters– 46% of Americans are independents. Yet, many voters are barred from participating in primary contents due to their party affiliation or lack-thereof.  

    Secondly, there are significant barriers to voting that make voting more difficult.

    Separate Registration and Voting– In many states, Americans must register a significant amount of time before election day. These laws not only vary by state, they also vary in how you can register. 

    Tuesday Voting– Unlike many other democracies who hold election days on a Sunday or a holiday, the United States has its elections on a workday: Tuesday. 

    Early Voting and No-Excuse Absentee Voting is Not Universal– Early voting and no-excuse absentee voting creates more flexibility for Americans who may not be able to make it to the polls in the 8 to 12-hour window on a Tuesday. Almost 64 million Americans do not have those options.  

    Some Votes Count More– Due to the electoral college in presidential elections, votes in smaller rural states tend to count more towards the final result than others.  

    If we want to continue calling ourselves a democracy. The United States needs laws that reflect a democracy.

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  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Condemns President Trump’s Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal

    “President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal dangerously increases the likelihood of war and undermines approaching talks with Kim Jong-un to denuclearize North Korea."

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  • Voter Registration

    In the last election, there were over 224 million American citizens over the age of 18 in the United States, and yet only around 157 million were registered to vote. Even fewer actually voted.  This video and article from Senator Nina Turner and the Sanders Institute investgates voter registration issues in the United States and how they negatively affect voter turnout.

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  • Voter ID Laws

    21 million Americans do not have government-issued ID and many of them cannot vote in 34 states that require it. In addition, these ID laws disproportionately disenfranchise elderly, poor, and minority populations.

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  • NEWS: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bill To Upgrade Water Infrastructure

    Years of neglecting our water infrastructure has spurred water contamination crises across the country in places like Flint, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD; among others.

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  • Felon Disenfranchisement

    6.1 million Americans cannot vote because of felony disenfranchisement. Ultimately, these men and women across the United States have little to no political recourse for challenging the laws that took away their vote.

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  • Unaffiliated Primary Voters

    Almost half (46%) of Americans are independents. Yet, many voters are barred from participating in primary contests due to their party affiliation or lack thereof. 

    The Sanders Institute and founding fellow Senator Nina Turner explain why unaffiliated voters are disenfranchised in many states across the country.

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  • How Our Industrial Policy Is Leaving Us Behind

    Until about a decade ago, the United States was the world leader in solar energy. Federal tax credits along with state renewable electricity standards helped fuel the boom.

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  • Tuesday and Early Voting

    Unlike many other democracies, which hold election days on Sundays and holidays, the United States has its elections on Tuesday workdays. Sanders Institute Senator Nina Turner explains why Americans vote on Tuesday and the ways that some states have tried to overcome that inconvenience.

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  • The Gun Control Debate: What Debate?

    Too often, when you raise the issue of guns in this country, it sparks highly divisive rhetoric with both sides drawing lines in the sand and pointing their arrows at each other. Caught in the middle, we see the faces and hear the voices of children who’ve witnessed the slaughter of their friends and teachers and who are crying out for action. The question is, will we hear them? Will we care enough to do something about it?

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  • PRESS RELEASE: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Says The Debate On Gun Control Is Over, Congress Must Act Now

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  • The Sanders Institute Talks: A National Jobs Guarantee

    Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders talks with Dr. Stephanie Kelton about the results of a new report on creating a national jobs guarantee program.The full report will be released through the Levy Institute in April, 2018. Dr. Kelton co-authored the report with 

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  • Student Activism: A Force for Change

    This month, a school full of children suffered an enormous tragedy. Again.

    Seventeen young people were gunned down inside a Florida high school but instead of devolving into the same cycle of meaningless debate, we’re seeing a new moment of student leadership. In a time of crushing grief and anger and fear, these students have chosen to rise up and fill the vacuum of leadership that many of our leaders have created. And they’ve been joined in their activism by their peers all across the country.

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  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s OFF Act for Pathway to 100% Clean Energy Economy Gains National Momentum

    Washington, DC-Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (HI-02) Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act), H.R. 3671, continues to gain momentum, adding 28 Congressional cosponsors and over 400 endorsements from clean energy, climate change, and environmental organizations since introduction. Building on progress made in Hawai‘i and other states, this legislation will put the United States on a pathway to replace fossil fuels with 100 percent clean energy generation and use by 2035.


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  • The Meaning of America

    When Trump and his followers refer to “America,” what do they mean?

    Some see a country of white English-speaking Christians.

    Others want a land inhabited by self-seeking individuals free to accumulate as much money and power as possible, who pay taxes only to protect their assets from criminals and foreign aggressors.

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  • What Trump Proposed Cutting in His 2019 Budget

    This article from the Washington Post outlines President Trump's budget proposal. 

    It describes that "To pay for additional defense spending, the border wall and an infrastructure plan, funding would be cut from many executive departments and agencies, including big cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department."

    WaPo Budget Graph

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  • Our Federal Budget Priorities

    Last week, the Federal Government shut down. While it is back up and running again, the "continuing resolution" did not solve the problem. 

    The underlying issue is not just the tradeoff between a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants and funding a border wall. It is also, more basically, coming up with a federal budget that reflects our national priorities. 

    In the Budget Control Act of 2011, Democrats and Republicans agreed to match changes in defense spending with changes in domestic spending. Currently, Republicans in Congress are demanding that the Federal Government spend as much as $180 billion more in defense spending.

    This joint video by the Sanders Institute and Inequality Media outlines this complicated issue.

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  • How To Reinvent Infrastructure

    There was only one reference to the deficit in last night’s State of the Union speech, and it had nothing to do with the federal budget. I found that refreshing - we can carry a deficit if the money’s spent wisely — but that’s another story. What President Trump talked about was America’s staggering infrastructure deficit, a whopping $2 trillion fault line in the backbone of the American economy, according to the latest estimates from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Facebook: 2018 State of the Union Address

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  • Tax Policy Center: Briefing Book

    This briefing book from the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center gives "A citizen's guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System."

    It begins with some background on the federal budget and tax system, it covers key elements of the U.S. tax system, suggests ways in which the tax system could be improved, and describes state and local taxes.

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  • The Big Picture: How We Got Into This Mess, and How We Get Out of It

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  • Why We Must Protect Net Neutrality

    The FCC is voting Thursday on whether to repeal the “Net Neutrality” rule adopted in 2015.

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  • Why the FCC Should Uphold Net Neutrality Protections

    In three days, the Internet as we know it could change forever. 

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  • How Net Neutrality Works

    This video from CNN money gives a succinct explanation of the Net Neutrality issue. 

    It begins with a metaphor: Internet is currently provided like a highway "vehicles, or content providers, can't pay more to use a special fast lane." Under current FCC rules, the internet is treated like a public utility. The video then outlines the issue if those net neutrality rules were to go away: "if Net Neutrality ends, some companies are going to be stuck in the slow lane and customers might stop using sites that never seem to load."

    The video then covers both sides of the Net Neutrality argument: the current FCC administration or telecom companies argue that government regulation stifles innovation, while tech companies and consumer advocacy groups argue that freedom is the paramount issue and that getting rid of net neutrality would allows internet providers too much control over internet use. 

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  • Swamped: More Than Half the Members of Washington’s Lobbying Corps Have Plunged Into the Tax Debate

    This report from Public Citizen investigates whether the Trump administration has in fact "Drained the Swam"

    It finds that lobbyists are still an overwhelming presence in D.C. Specifically, "In all, 6,243 lobbyists have been listed on lobbying disclosure forms as working on issues involving the word “tax” through the first three quarters of 2017...That is equal to 57 percent of the nearly 11,000 people who have reported engaging in any domestic lobbying activities at all in 2017.Put another way, this equals more than 11 lobbyists for every member of Congress."

    The report lists and analyses how many lobbyists are hired by large companies, and what type of lobbying they do. 

    Tags: Lobbying
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  • The Bernie Sanders Show: What Is The Future Of Digital Media?

    In this video, Senator Sanders interviews four journalists from digital media sources: NowThis, The Young Turks, AJ+, and ATTN.

    They begin by discussing the evolution of news and especially their role in the 2016 election: covering stories that were largely ignored by mainstream media, and resonating with people who do not feel represented in traditional media (racially, or through their socioeconomic backgrounds.)

    The conversation then addresses Net Neutrality. The journalists explain the importance of Net Neutrality and what would happen to internet access without neutrality: "Wealthy corporations get to decide what you get to see. What the public is aware of is no longer the same. Its no longer fair."

    The video ends with a conversation about what the media can do better - to better inform and educate Americans.

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  • Robert Reich and Ro Khanna In Conversation

    In this conversation, Robert Reich and Ro Khanna talk about how net neutrality relates to anti-trust regulation and its relevance to the 2018 elections, and also how expanding the earned income tax credit (EITC) will lead to bottom-up economic growth. Congressman Ro Khanna is a leader in the fight to preserve net neutrality. 

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  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls on FCC to Protect Net Neutrality

    Washington, DC-Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to dismantle landmark net neutrality rules.

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  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Speaks at Kuleana Academy, Recognizes Hawaii Student Participants at Model United Nations, Highlights Ongoing Challenges Facing Puerto Rico

    Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) met with participants of the Kuleana Academy, a four-month leadership development and non-partisan candidate training program designed to educate and train grassroots leaders who have a desire to serve in public office, or as community organizers. The congresswoman answered questions from the group on getting involved in politics, working with local advocacy groups, working in a bipartisan way to deliver results, and more.

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  • The GOP Wants To Eliminate The Estate Tax. Let’s Use It To Expand Social Security Instead

    This article takes a new approach to Social Security and the Estate Tax.

    Nancy Altman argues that "Our nation is founded on the idea that we are created equal. The reality is that children of billionaires have many opportunities denied to the rest of us. Instead of making those children even richer and more privileged, here’s a better idea: If Republicans don’t want the revenue from that top 0.2 percent of wealthiest Americans to run the government, let’s dedicate it to Social Security and use it to expand those modest but vital benefits for everyone."

    This argument acknowledges the growing inequality in the United States and uses it to level the playing field through the allocation of the Estate Tax to Social Security. 

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  • How to End Croney Capitalism

    The largest corporations and richest people in America - who donated billions of dollars to Republican candidates the House and Senate in the 2106 election – appear on the way to getting what they paid for: a giant tax cut.

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  • America's Goals and Politics of the Common Interest

    According to Aristotle, politics should be about the common interest. Yet everywhere we look, narrow corporate interests have pushed aside what’s best for most Americans. By adopting America’s Goals for 2030, we can restore the politics of the common interest and push corporate lobbyists to where they belong, the sidelines of politics. 

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  • The Disunited States of American Gun Control

    America today doesn’t just have red (conservative) states and blue (progressive) states, but de facto red countries and blue countries: regions with distinct cultures, heroes, politics, dialects, economies, and ideas of freedom. The recent massacre in Las Vegas suggests that it's time to let them go their separate ways.

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  • Video: Gabbard Calls on Congress to Pass Aid Package for Puerto Rico Now

    Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke on the House floor today calling on the Trump administration and Congress to pass an aid package for Puerto Rico now in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.

    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard demanded that the administration immediately send all available resources to help with recovery efforts.

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  • Common Tax ‘Reform’ Questions, Answered

    This article from the Economic Policy Institute explains "Why tax cuts for high-income households and corporations won’t help working families."

    It debunks many of the statements that are used to support tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy while answering the following questions:

    1. Should tax cuts be today’s policy priority?

    2. Would cutting corporate tax rates boost American jobs?

    3. Would cutting corporate tax rates boost American investment or wages?

    4. Is it a problem that tax cuts (including corporate rate cuts) add to the federal budget deficit?

    5. Do U.S. corporations pay significantly more in income taxes than companies in our peer countries?

    6. Does the U.S. corporate tax code harm American workers by making U.S. firms less “competitive”?

    7. Does the U.S. corporate tax code force businesses to move their headquarters overseas? Even if it did, is this necessarily bad for American workers?

    8. Do small business owners need a tax cut to level the playing field with larger corporations?

    9. Do U.S. corporations need tax cuts to resolve economic “uncertainty” that is supposedly holding back U.S. growth?

    10. Wouldn’t tax simplification be a good idea?

    11. Shouldn’t we close loopholes in the corporate tax code?

    12. Are profits of U.S. firms “trapped” overseas because of U.S. corporate taxes?

    13. Would letting companies bring back (“repatriate”) their overseas profits at low tax rates (via a “tax holiday”) help the U.S. economy?

    14. Will tax cuts threaten Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

    15. Is there a better way to spend the $2.5 trillion to $5.5 trillion in revenue that would be lost under the current “Big 6” tax plan?

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  • The Sustainable Development Goals: Eliminating Poverty

    Eliminating poverty tops the global goal list and remains one of the biggest challenges we face. Although many people are now better off than before, 18,000 children still die each day from poverty-related causes across the globe. 

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  • The Nina Turner Show: Towards a Party of the People with Dr. Jane Sanders

    Dr Jane Sanders talks about her political life from childhood to creating the Sanders Institute, and calls for the Democratic Party to become the party of the people.

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  • Nina Turner on Thom Hartmann Program: Video

    Nina Turner joins Thom Hartman to discuss the state of the residence, her new presidency at Our Revolution, and more. 

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  • Dislike of Candidates or Campaign Issues Was Most Common Reason for Not Voting in 2016

    In 2000, two in ten (21%) of Americans who did not vote, said that they did not do so because it was inconvenient - they were too busy, or had conflicting work or school schedule. In 2000, inconvenience was the most-given reason for not voting. In 2016, only 14% of the population said that they did not vote because it was inconvenient. Instead, the most given reason for not voting in 2016 was dislike for the candidates or campaign issues. 

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  • Lecture: Truth as a Common Good

    Economist Robert Reich, the Clinton-era Labor Secretary and prominent Democratic pundit, gives a rousing talk on how the intersection of politics and economics led to the rise of Donald Trump and describes the concerns he shares with Republicans who fear that Trump's way of governing is harming American institutions. Reich is the featured speaker at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy's Board of Advisors Dinner held in March 2017. Recorded on 03/29/2017. 

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  • U.S. Government 101

    This article and video summarize the roles of the three branches of the U.S. government based on the Constitution:

    • Legislative - Makes laws (Congress)
    • Executive – Carries out laws (President, Vice President, Cabinet)
    • Judicial – Evaluates laws (Supreme Court and other courts)

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  • The Sanders Institute Government Resources

    Government websites can be complicated and convoluted. The Sanders Institute has brought together a number of links that may be useful as you negotiate these websites. This includes a list of Senators and Members of Congress, raw vote tallies, and the current legislative activities of both Houses.

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  • NAFTA’s Legacy: Expanding Corporate Power to Attack Public Interests Laws

    This fact sheet from looks at the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and specifically the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS): "NAFTA grants rights to thousands of multinational corporations to bypass domestic courts and directly “sue” the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments." 

    It describes the legal basis for theses ISDS. ISDS gives multinational corporations the ability to challenge new government policies if corporations claim these policies violate their NAFTA rights. "More than $392 million in compensation has already been paid out to corporations in a series of investor-state cases under NAFTA." When looking specifically at what sorts of claims are made "of the 11 claims (for more than $36 billion) currently pending under NAFTA, nearly all relate to environmental, energy, financial, public health, land use and transportation policies - not traditional trade issues."

    The fact sheet then lists and describes a number of the cases that have been brought under NAFTA.

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  • Why Millenials Will Reject Trump

    In the US, pundits remain fixated on traditional party divides, and not on the deeper demographic changes that are underway. Today’s millennial generation, with its members' future-oriented perspective, will soon dominate American politics, and the country will become increasingly liberal and economically just as a result.

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  • Debunking the Voter Fraud Myth

    This article from the Brennan Center on Justice debunks some of the myths that have been perpetuated around voter fraud.

    "The president has continued to claim voter fraud was a problem in the 2016 election. But a look at the facts makes clear fraud is vanishingly rare, and does not happen on a scale even close to that necessary to “rig” an election."

    It specifically looks at three entities that have historically investigated voter fraud. It finds:

    • Studies Agree: Impersonation Fraud by Voters Very Rarely Happens

    • Courts Agree: Fraud by Voters at the Polls is Nearly Non-Existent

    • Government Investigations Agree: Voter Fraud Is Rare

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  • 4 Possible Reasons The Polls Got It So Wrong This Year

    A common criticism of the media after the 2016 election was that the polling and pundits got the election result drastically wrong. 

    This article from NPR looks at the polling leading up to the 2016 election and gives an analysis of how far they were actually off and why they predicted the final result wrong. It comes to four major findings and large questions:

    1. The national polls weren't that off - they did predict more people would vote for Clinton. That's what happened.

    2. Some people just don't answer the phone.

    3. Did people lie to pollsters?

    4. It's hard to capture enthusiasm (or lack thereof)

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  • Why Does the Democratic Party Have Superdelegates?

    Whether you agree or disagree with the inclusion of Superdelegates, it is important to understand the history and reasoning behind their addition to the democratic nomination process.

    This article lays out the evolution of the democratic nomination process from the McGovern-Fraser Commission: "The result of the Commission’s work was a process that included open delegate selection, required a proportion of a state’s delegation to include racial minorities and women, and limited the number of delegates named by the State Democratic Committee to 10 percent of the total."

    To the Hunt Commission which created new rules: "The new rules culminated in the creation of delegates who would be “unpledged,” meaning that they would be members of their respective state’s delegation to the National Convention regardless of which candidate they supported. In fact, these delegates did not have to declare a candidate preference until the national convention and could change their preference at the convention."

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  • Voter Suppression, And How It Works

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  • Why Does Iowa Vote First, Anyway?

    The presidential primaries start with caucuses in Iowa. You might ask yourself: "Why Iowa?"

    This article outlines how Iowa became the first caucus through the 1968 Democratic convention. It then talks about some of the criticisms of this placement and addresses arguments on both sides.

    "The first-in-the-nation caucus state is whiter and more rural than the rest of the country; it doesn't really represent America in some fundamental ways. Knowing that, why is Iowa first? And is that fair?"

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  • No Way To Pick A President? Here Are 6 Other Ways To Do It

    Many agree that the U.S. primary system is not perfect. There has been frequent criticism of the primary system, but little has changed to fix the overall system. 

    This article outlines some of the new primary systems that have been proposed over the years, the overall outline, who has promoted it, the pros, and the cons. The 6 ideas are:

    1. Pick A New State: Let a new state go before Iowa and New Hampshire.

    2. National Primary: Let people nationwide cast their primary ballots all at once.

    3. Rotating Regional Primary: Break the U.S. into a few segments and let each take a turn going first.

    4. The Delaware Plan: Let the states with smaller populations go first.

    5. The Ohio Plan: The Ohio Plan would have let four current early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada) go first, followed by a group of 15 small states and territories.

    6. Graduated Random Presidential Primaries: There would be 10 caucus periods, each lasting two weeks. States with fewer congressional districts would go first, followed by states with a few more in the next period and so on.

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  • Impeachment and Removal

    Many people have heard the term "impeachment" but few know the intricacies of  the impeachment process and what it means to "get impeached."

    This report from the Congressional Research Service takes a deep dive into the impeachment process, who can be impeached and the presidents and judges who have been impeached.

    Ultimately, "Although the term “impeachment” is commonly used to refer to the removal of a government official from office, the impeachment process, as described in the Constitution, entails two distinct proceedings carried out by the separate houses of Congress. First, a simple majority of the House impeaches-or formally approves allegations of wrongdoing amounting to an impeachable offense, known as articles of impeachment. The articles of impeachment are then forwarded to the Senate where the second proceeding takes place: an impeachment trial. If the Senate, by vote of a two-thirds majority, convicts the official of the alleged offenses, the result is removal from office of those still in office, and, at the Senate’s discretion, disqualification from holding future office."

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  • Gerrymandering: How Politicians Rig Elections

    This video from Vox looks at gerrymandering in the United States.

    It begins with a description that "the way elections are supposed to work is voters choose their politicians but in America politicians often get to choose their voters."

    The United States has 435 electoral districts, and those districts need to be drawn and re-drawn based on changing populations. Unfortunately, in most states politicians draw the district lines and "the results are totally predictable": state legislators can create districts that favor their party. 

    North Carolina is used as an example of this situation - Democrats received over 50% of the house votes in 2012, but won only four house seats to the Republican's nine. This is due to district lines that "cluster the state's Democrats together into only a few districts with huge majorities" whereas the state's Republicans are spread out in more districts with slimmer majorities.

    The video ends by describing that there is an alternative to partisan gerrymandering and gives Canada's electoral system as an example where they use independent commissions to draw district lines. 

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  • Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate

    Recently, there has been much discussion in the news about filibusters and the rules surrounding them. This report from the Congressional Research Service describes what a filibustering is "Filibustering includes any use of dilatory or obstructive tactics to block a measure by preventing it from coming to a vote." It goes through the history of the filibuster, and ways that the Senate has halted or reduced filibusters "Senate Rule XXII, however, known as the cloture rule, enables Senators to end a filibuster on any debatable matter the Senate is considering."

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  • The Electoral College Explained

    This video from Ted-Ed explains the electoral college system in the U.S.

    In the United States, the public does not elect the President and Vice President directly. Instead, when a majority of voters in a state vote for a certain candidate, that candidate receives that state's electoral college votes. The electoral college is "a group of people appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States." 

    The number of electors is equal to the total voting membership of the house of representative (435) and the senate (100) with three extra delegates from Washington D.C. Each state receives a particular number of electoral college votes based on their population size.  States with small populations like Vermont receive 3 electoral college votes, while states with larger populations receive many more; California receives 55 electoral college votes.  Traditionally, candidates receive all the electoral college votes when they win that state.

    When candidates run for the presidency, they try to "add up the electors in every state" to reach over half of the electors with 270 electoral college votes.

    Supporters of the electoral college say that it gives smaller states power because candidates cannot completely ignore them. However, the electoral college can sometimes lead to situations where a candidate can win the popular vote but lose the electoral college - as has happened in the 2000 and 2016 elections.

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  • Political Civility Should Not be an Oxymoron

    UC Berkeley Professor Robert Reich is one of the nation's leading experts on work and the economy. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He discusses the state of civility in politics today.

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  • Understanding Power

    Noam Chomsky is universally accepted as one of the preeminent public intellectuals of the modern era. Over the past thirty years, broadly diverse audiences have gathered to attend his sold-out lectures. Now, in Understanding Power, Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel have assembled the best of Chomsky's recent talks on the past, present, and future of the politics of power.

    In a series of enlightening and wide-ranging discussions, all published here for the first time, Chomsky radically reinterprets the events of the past three decades, covering topics from foreign policy during Vietnam to the decline of welfare under the Clinton administration. And as he elucidates the connection between America's imperialistic foreign policy and the decline of domestic social services, Chomsky also discerns the necessary steps to take toward social change. With an eye to political activism and the media's role in popular struggle, as well as U.S. foreign and domestic policy, Understanding Power offers a sweeping critique of the world around us and is definitive Chomsky.

    Characterized by Chomsky's accessible and informative style, this is the ideal book for those new to his work as well as for those who have been listening for years.

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  • FDR's Second Bill of Rights

    As our nation has grown in size and stature, however - as our industrial economy expanded — these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

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