What is the current state of American democracy, and what can be done to improve it? Three legal and political experts weighed in on those questions during a recent panel discussion at UC Berkeley.
Steve Silberstein is a member of National Popular Vote, a nonprofit that aims to work within the confines of the electoral college to ensure the presidential candidate who earns the most votes wins the presidency. Bertrall Ross teaches election law, constitutional law and legislation law at Berkeley Law. Steven Hayward is a senior resident scholar at Berkeleys Institute of Governmental Studies, and well-known conservative commentator.
The panel focuses on three key issues: voter participation, gerrymandering, and the electoral college. Silberstein begins by discussing the plan to switch to a national popular vote system without amending the constitution or passing congressional legislation. His group’s plan is to get states to agree to give all of their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner. The total of electoral votes would need to be at least 270 for the plan to effectively sidestep the electoral college. As of now, enough states have agreed to bring that total to 194 electoral votes.
Silberstein argues this would change the way presidential campaigns operate, and force candidates to focus on issues that matter to the entire country, not just voters in swing states. Hayward cautions that while that may be the intent, there will likely be some unintended consequences. Hayward urging caution before pushing reform emerges as a theme throughout the night as the panel discusses redistricting, campaign finance, and universal basic income.
We’ve got pundits, too! Next up on UCTV Prime Vote is UC Berkeley’s Lisa Garcia Bedolla with As Latinos Go, So Goes the Nation, in which she argues that Republicans will never become a majority party without support from Latinos.
Professor Bedolla joins faculty from throughout the UC system who present their views on issues relevant to the next election.
Student loans. Rising tuitions. An unwelcoming job market for college graduates. These are just some of the pressing reasons why college students need to get themselves to the polls. Yet one group of UC San Diego students discovered that only 6% of their student population was registered to vote in the 2010 election.
Not a pretty fact — and something the Student Organized Voter Access Committee (SOVAC) is determine to change. Find out how in this latest edition of “UCTV:Prime Vote – Students, Yes You!” where SOVAC members Dean Searcy and Arshya Sharifian make their case for mobilizing the student vote on UC campuses across the state, and universities throughout the nation.
When comes to election 2012, every vote counts. Republicans and Democrats can no longer afford to ignore minority groups in their campaign messaging.
On the latest edition of “Prime: Vote”, UC San Diego Political Scientist Zoltan Hajnal, co-author of “Why Americans Don’t Join the Party: Race, Immigration and the Failure of Political Parties to Engage the Electorate,” argues that both parties can bring more minorities to the polls by addressing their specific concerns, rather than crafting campaigns that appeal primarily to whites or ignore race altogether. Hear what he has to say in the latest installment of “Prime: Vote – Embracing Race in American Politics.”
“Prime: Vote” features informed election analysis and commentary from University of California faculty who use peer-reviewed research to underscore their ideas. Most recently, UC Berkeley professor and executive director of UC’s Washington Center Bruce Cain joined UC San Diego’s Thad Kousser on “Moneybags: Who’s Funding Campaign 2012?” to weigh in on recent Supreme Court cases and other factors that have turned this election into the season of Super PACs.
And make sure to come back May 22 for “Embracing Race in American Politics,” a commentary from UC San Diego’s Zoltan Hajnal, who argues that Republicans and Democrats can bring more minorities to the polls by addressing their specific concerns, rather than ignoring race or crafting campaigns that appeal primarily to whites.