Why You Should Care about the California Senate Race in 2016

California will enter a new political era in 2016. Senator Barbara Boxer, who has been serving California since she was first elected in 1992, announced last month that she is not seeking re-election, setting off a firestorm of jockeying by potential candidates and speculation about whom the voters might select as her successor. What happens in the nation’s most populous state and largest state economy will have an effect across the country.

While nothing is guaranteed, it’s very likely that another Democrat will succeed Boxer: Democrats have a 15-point registration advantage statewide, and Republicans simply don’t have a candidate with the statewide favorability or profile to overcome that sort of headwind—especially in a presidential election year when turnout is higher. But which Democrat emerges from this high-profile contest might speak volumes about the future of the Democratic Party and progressivism in general. Not to mention: whoever emerges victorious from this race will be occupying a high-visibility position that could foster ambitions for the White House down the road.

Click through to read about the contenders…

Why In the World Are We Not Automatically Registered To Vote?

Delving deeper into the turnout numbers in 2008 provides a good clue. According to the US Census Bureau, there were 146 million people registered to vote in time for the 2008 election, and of those, 131 million cast a ballot. That’s nearly 90%—a healthy number for a participatory democracy. The problem? Only 71% of eligible citizens were registered to vote. That means that nearly 1 in 3 American citizens would have been unable to walk into a polling place on Election Day in 2008 and cast a ballot. Getting that slice of the electorate registered to vote in the first place would likely provide a substantial boost to turnout and make it especially easier for young voters to participate in democracy. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to do just that.

if you live in the uk and you’ve not already done it, register to vote now at [gov.uk/register-to-vote]

you’ll need your national insurance number - it only takes a few minutes! it’s really important to register in time for the upcoming elections in may. young people in particular are a really underrepresented section of the electorate, so it’s crucial to participate and be part of the process

the deadline for registering is 20th april, iirc, so you’ve got a bit of time, but better sooner than later! if you split time between home and uni, you can fill in the form twice to be able to vote in either place


Republican House Speaker John Boehner secretly invited the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on Iran on March 3rd and intentionally withheld information about the invitation from the White House. Don’t grant legitimacy to this outrageous political maneuver by the extreme right-wing by participating.”

The purpose is to blast President Obama’s diplomacy with Iran and promote Netanyahu just two weeks before Israel holds an election. And it’s scheduled to happen in front of a joint session of Congress – without first clearing the visit with the White House!

First thing I would like to point out is Israel’s illegal actions against Palestine. They have sieged land for settlements. Built blockaides to percent care and commerce coming into Gaza and the West Bank. They have laid waste to whole communities attacking homes, schools and businesses. In December, Israel opened dams at the border and floods the Wadi Gaza - submerging houses and creating fast-flowing torrents that further endanger lives. Hundreds have been evacuated from their homes compounding the crisis of homelessness following the 2014 offensive.

Ahead of elections in Israel, Netanyahu is using this opportunity to blast US President Obama for his nuclear talks with Iran. I want to point out that Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons since about December 1966, but does not want Iran to develop nuclear power for energy or weapons.

This is a power play on Boehner and Netanyahu to undermined Obama’s foreign policy. We are asking all Representatives and Senators to skip the speach.


Dollar worship spurs on extremism | Jean-Marie Guéhenno (Crisis Group CEO and President)

Throughout the world, crisis grips national politics. In election after election, voter turnout hits historic lows. Politicians are universally reviled. Mainstream parties, desperate to remain relvant, are caught in a vice, forced to chose between pandering to extremism and the risk of being overwhlemed by populist, anti-establishment movements. 

Meanwhile, not since the end of World War II has money played such an important role in politics, trumping the power of ideas. 

In the US, for example, the sound of billions of dollars flowing into election-campaign coffers drowns out the voices of individual voters. In parts of the world where rule of law is weak, criminal networks and corruption displace democratic processes. The pursuit of the collective good looks sadly quaint. 

FULL COMMENTARY (via Bangkok Post)

Photo: Miran Rijavec/flickr