Democracy Forum 4/19/19 Citizen Initiatives: The Devil’s in the Details

Citizen Initiatives: The Devil’s in the Details

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine, www.lwvme.org
Engineer: Amy Browne

Key Discussion Points:
the historical origins of the initiative provisions,
how initiatives actually work in Maine,
our contemporary experience with them, their effect on politics and elections,
the tension between direct and representative democracy, and
proposals for reform, many of which are being debated in the Maine State Legislature right now.

Guests:
Joshua Dyck, Associate Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of the Center for Public Opinion at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. www.uml.edu/fahss/political-science/faculty/dyck-joshua.aspx
Michael Franz, Professor of Government and Legal Studies at Bowdoin College and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project. mikemfranz.com/

To learn more about this topic:
Initiatives without Engagement A Realistic Appraisal of Direct Democracy’s Secondary Effects, Joshua J. Dyck and Edward L. Lascher, Jr., 2019
Ballot Questions in Maine, Polling Edition, Michael Franz, April, 2019.
Miller-Rose Initiative Database at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, Claremont McKenna College.
Seizing the Initiative: A Short History of Direct Democracy in America Nick Johnson, April, 2018.
American Voters Are Turning to Direct Democracy, Vann Newkirk, Atlantic April 2018.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 3/15/19

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

The Electoral College: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Key Discussion Points:
The electoral college. its historical origins and the founders’ intent,
The practical implications for modern American politics,
Proposals for reform, including the National Popular Vote (NPV).

Guests:
Mark Brewer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine
Jamie Raskin, Professor Law at American University Washington College of Law and U.S. Congressman representing Maryland’s 8th District
Patrick Rosenstiel, CEO of Ainsley Shea, a Minneapolis-based public relations firm working to advance the National Popular Vote.

To learn more, follow these links to related content:

As American as Apple Pie? The Rural Vote’s Disproportionate Slice of Power Emily Badger in The New York Times, November, 2016.
The real reason we have an Electoral College: to protect slave states Sean Illing interviews Akhil Reed Amar in Vox, November, 2016.
The Electoral College badly distorts the vote. And it’s going to get worse. Katy Collin in The Washington Post, November, 2016.
Don’t Believe the Myths about the National Popular Vote, Saul Anuzis, The Hill, May, 2018.
Constitutional Law Professor Drops Bombshell on `Forgotten Americans’ at Democrats’ Electoral College Meeting, Jamie Raskin, Alternet December, 2016.
An Idea for Electoral College Reform That Both Parties Might Actually Like, Edward B. Foley, Politico January, 2019.
Alternative view: National Popular Vote would amplify Maine voices and empower small states, Patrick Rosenstiel in the Maine Wire, March 10, 2019.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Sheila Kirby, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 2/15/19

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

Participatory Democracy: The Free Press and a Functioning Democracy

We talk about democracy, journalism, the state of play in American news.
Can fact-based journalism survive?
Can democracy survive otherwise?

Guests:
Earl Brechlin, Earl was the founding editor of the Mount Desert Islander. friendsofacadia.org/news/friends-acadia-welcomes-earl-brechlin-communications-director/
Burt Neuborne, Burt Neuborne is the Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties and founding Legal Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School. He is the author of the book, Madison’s Music, that explores a deep reading of the First Amendment. its.law.nyu.edu/facultyprofiles/index.cfm?fuseaction=profile.biography&personid=20165
Judy Woodruff, Judy Woodruff is the anchor and managing editor of the PBS Newshour. www.pbs.org/newshour/about/judy-woodruff

To learn more about this topic:
More Important But Less Robust? Five Things Everybody Needs to Know about the Future of Journalism Reuters Institute Report, January, 2019
Does Journalism have a Future? Jill Lepore in The New Yorker, January 28, 2019
Is journalism’s `pivot to dust’ arriving? Megan McArdle in the Washington Post, January 26, 2019
How We Know Journalism is Good for Democracy, Josh Stearns, posted at Medium, a publication of PACE: Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, June 26, 2018
Local newspapers have already been gutted. There’s nothing left to cut. Steve Cavendish, the Washington Post, January 25, 2109.
Madison’s Music: On Reading the First Amendment, Burt Neuborne, 2015.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Sheila Kirby, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

This episode of Democracy Forum was produced with support from the Maine Humanities Council.

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 1/18/19

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

Cyber Attacks on Democracy: Social Media, Fake News, and Voter Responsibility

Key Discussion Points:
We’ll talk about cyber attacks on elections, weaponizing misinformation, social media, and disinformation.
Is this the new normal?
Can democracy survive?

Guests:
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and author of the new book, Cyber War: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President – What We Don’t, Can’t, and Do Know www.asc.upenn.edu/people/faculty/kathleen-hall-jamieson-phd
Jamie McKown, Faculty, Government & Polity at the College of the Atlantic and James Russell Wiggins Chair in Government and Polity. coa.edu/live/profiles/1179-jamie
mckown/templates/details/faculty.php

To learn more about this topic:
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?, Evan Osnos in The New Yorker, September, 2018.
Machine Politics, Fred Turner in Harpers Magazine, January, 2019.
Secret campaign to use Russian-inspired tactics in 2017 Ala. election stirs anxiety for Democrats, Washington Post, January, 2019.
New Report on Russian Disinformation Prepared for the Senate shows the Operations Scale and Sweep, Washington Post, December, 2018.
New Studies Show Pundits Are Wrong About Russian Social-Media Involvement in US Politics, Aaron Maté, The Nation, December, 2018.
The most underplayed story of the 2016 election is voter suppression, Rachelle Hampton, The New Republic, January, 2019. Call In Program: Yes

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Sheila Kirby, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 11/30/18

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

Be sure to catch Democracy Forum in its regular time slot, 10-11 am on the 3rd Friday off each month. This edition of the Democracy Forum was canceled earlier in November due to a storm, and rescheduled in today’s time slot for this month only.

Election 2018: What Happened and What Does It Mean?

Key Discussion Points:
We talk about who won in Maine and why.
How do the election outcomes in Maine reflect national trends–or not–along the dimensions of party majorities, women and minority candidates, voter turnout, demographics, and voter suppression?
What does it all mean for governing in the biennium ahead?

Guests:
John Baughman, Associate Professor of Politics at Bates College. www.bates.edu/politics/faculty/john-baughman/
Jill Goldthwait, Columnist and former independent Maine State Senator www.mdislander.com/author/jgoldthwait

To learn more about this topic:
2018: Another ‘Year of the Woman’ Brookings, November 8, 2018.
Americans will head to the polls in a week. Here’s why some won’t. Washington Post, October 30, 2018.
Maine’s toss-up 2nd District appears headed to a ranked-choice count, Bangor Daily News, November 7, 2018.
Brian Kemp’s Lead in Georgia Needs an Asterisk, The Atlantic, November 7, 2018.
2018 exit polls show greater white support for Democrats, Brookings, November 8, 2018.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Sheila Kirby, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 10/19/18

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

Political Polls: Can We Ever Trust Them Again?

Key Discussion Points:
the state of the art in political polling,
why polls sometimes get it wrong,
the emerging challenges for pollsters,
what citizens need to know about who and what to believe.

Guests:
aAmy Fried, Professor & Department Chair, Political Science, University of Maine umaine.edu/polisci/faculty-and-staff/amy-fried/
Courtney Kennedy, Director of Survey Research at the Pew Research Center. www.pewresearch.org/staff/courtney-kennedy/

To learn more about this topic:
Can we still trust polls? by Courtney Kennedy, May, 2018, from FactTank: News in Numbers at the Pew Research Center.
Why Polling Can Be So Hard by Nate Cohn, September, 2018, from TheUpshot at the New York Times.
You can trust the polls in 2018, if you read them carefully by Josh Pasek and Michael Traugott for The Conversation.
Pathways to Polling: Crisis, Cooperation and the Making of Public Opinion Professions, Amy Fried, 2011.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Sheila Kirby, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 9/21/18

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Engineer: Amy Browne

Elections in Maine: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Key Discussion Points:
what citizens need to know about the conduct of elections in Maine:
what are the opportunities for citizen participation and observation;
what aspects are conducted by the State with regard to the security and integrity of the process and the electronic components;
what role do the town clerks play in making sure things run smoothly, etc.

Guests:
Patti Dubois, Waterville City Clerk www.waterville-me.gov/clerk/
Julie Flynn, Deputy Secretary of State, Maine Secretary of State’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions. www.eac.gov/testing/staff-modules/julie-l-flynn/

To learn more about this topic:
History of the Municipal Clerk, September, 2014, at the International Institute for Municipal Clerks
Maine Town and City Clerks Association
Maine Secretary of State Elections Division
U.S. Elections Assistance Commission

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Sheila Kirby, Ann Luther, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Leah Taylor, and Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 7/20/18

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine  
Engineer: Amy Browne

Distrust in Government: A Necessary Evil or a Weapon of Destruction?

Key Discussion Points:
a) the waxing and waning of Americans’ trust in government
b) why a little skepticism may be a good thing
c) how partisanship plays into the equation
d) how too much distrust may be a self-fulfilling prophecy

Guests:
Amy Fried, Professor & Department Chair, Political Science, University of Maine umaine.edu/polisci/faculty-and-staff/amy-fried/
Thomas E. Mann, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution and Resident Scholar, Institute of Governmental Studies, University of California, Berkeley www.brookings.edu/experts/thomas-e-mann/

To learn more about this topic:
Public Trust in Government: 1958-2017, Pew Research Center, December, 2017.
The Strategic Promotion of Distrust in Government in the Tea Party Age, Amy Fried, 2015.
Finding the Common Good in an Era of Dysfunctional Governance Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Daedelus, Spring 2013.
A More Perfect Union, New York Times book review of Garry Willis’s book, A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government, 1999.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
Starr Gilmartin
Maggie Harling
Linda Hoskins
Sheila Kirby
Ann Luther
Maryann Ogonowski
Pam Person
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org