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Front Page

In This Issue:

¨ Democrat Dominance in the House

¨      Graph Illustrating this Dominance

¨ Voter Turnout and Our Elections

¨ Political Justice In Washington?

POLITICAL JUSTICE

IN WASHINGTON?

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

     A key to major legal cases against high political figures is how the official charges are defined.  The House Committee on the Judiciary carefully drafted charges to limit relative evidence in the case against President Nixon to the 1972 election, thus excluding what previous Presidents had done.  A careful prosecutor ordered an aide to collect evidence from previous Presidencies.  When Hillary Rodham came up with a report documenting numerous examples of similar irregularities, he ordered her to get rid of it.

 

      For the Clinton impeachment, the Judiciary Committee excluded possible charges of illegal campaign donations (Chinese) and of illegal citizenship grants, for both of which there was documentary evidence.  Clinton was charged only with perjury and obstructing justice derived from his “private” dalliances.

 

      “Scooter” Libby was convicted of giving false testimony to an investigator in a matter that was already known to have been misreported, and not actually criminal.

    

       Democrat committee chairmen, in both House and Senate, are promising us more political “justice” soon. 2/10/09    

 SINCE 1930: DEMOCRAT

DOMINANCE IN THE HOUSE OF

REPRESENTATIVES  

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

The nearly complete dominance of what was to have been our most popular branch of government by one political party for eighty years is a terrible example of representative democracy.  That is especially true because in the same period partisan control of the popularly elected Senate has changed more, and the partisanship of our popular Presidents has changed frequently.

 

Two factors go far in explaining Democrat dominance in the House.  In 1930 party column ballots were common, and many voters (me included) made one mark at the top of a column to elect their choice of a President and with him other officers of the same party.  Presidential “coattails” were very influential at a time when our most dominant President, a Democrat, held office.  But, following WWII there was a movement among independents and many Republicans to reduce the effect of coattails, partly by changing to office block ballots.

 

If voters do not vote straight party tickets, how do they choose among individuals running for the lesser offices?  Many vote for the more familiar name.  And, especially in very populous election districts, the more familiar name is apt to be an incumbent or one made familiar by the mass media.  By 1960 familiar names in our very large congressional districts were likely to belong to either a Democrat incumbent or a Democrat favored by newly emerging television. The forty years (1954-1994) of unbroken Democrat majorities (33 to 155 votes) in the House of Representatives can best be explained as the effects of incumbency and bias in the mass media.  Since 1954  Republican Presidents have won 8 elections, 6 were popular majorities, 3 of them landslides; meanwhile Democrats won the Presidency  6 times but only 3 were by popular majorities and only 1 was a landslide.

 

More recently, with the emergence of cable television, talk radio, Fox News, a revamped WALL STREET JOURNAL, etc. Republicans have achieved some small majorities in the House.  Additional partisan changes in the House are now quite possible.  But, the larger problem remains, and grows.

 

Either we must have enough more Representatives to facilitate greatly their personal contacts with individual constituents or we will not have, in fact, the kind of representative democracy in which we claim to believe.

VOTER TURNOUT & OUR ELECTIONS

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

Since Amendment XXVI to our Constitution was ratified in 1971, the turnout of voting age Americans for a national election has not reached 60%. Our last, 2008, was best at 56.8%.

 

Perhaps more important is the difference between turnouts in Presidential and off-year elections.  It’s been more than a quarter of a century since the turnout in an off-year came within 20 million of the previous Presidential election.  In 2006, an off-year that gave us Pelosi and Reid as leaders of Congress, the voting fell more than 40 million below that cast in 2004.  The 2006 off-year vote was more than 50 million less than that in 2008.   Source: Infoplease.com

                                                      

If anything could be sadder, it is the plentiful evidence that those who sign up in our military to fight for our rights are often prevented, by largely civilian failures, from recording votes for their civilian leaders.  Isn’t it time that we had one national system of IDs and a single central electronic balloting for at least our top federal offices? 081910