There were going to be three, but now I can't find the third one.
Texas and Florida, the two most populous states in the US South, constantly compete in a variety of areas. Most prominently, the debate about which state has the bigger and scarier cockroaches (palmetto bugs, whatever) never seems to end. Both continually top each other in the most inexplicably crazy news story department: Florida is ahead, as Texas still hasn't found anything to beat bath-salt-crazed residents eating people's faces.
We also both do elections in ways that don't make sense to outsiders, or even people within Texas and Florida who are actually paying attention. In Texas, the elected judiciary causes a bit of consternation: Yes, it's good in principle to get to vote for portions of the government with whom we might very easily come into contact, but in the larger counties it goes way beyond weird. Harris County has 36 state district judge positions, with judges elected to staggered four-year terms, and only attorneys can keep track of which court handles what types of cases.
In Texas, however, our local and statewide elections, including party primaries, must produce a majority winner. That's why we have runoff elections in which 15% turnout is considered healthy. Florida apparently doesn't, which is why Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum can win a Democratic primary race with only 34%, edging out establishment opponent Gwen Graham who garnered 31%.
Neither system is as small-d democratic as it could be with either Ranked Choice or Approval Voting. (No need for links. We've trotted out that Instant Runoff horse many times on this-here blog.) Texas's top-two runoffs are decided by a majority...of the 15% or fewer who show up to vote in them.
Jimmy Dore has some more analysis on Gillum this year's progressive insurgency within the Democratic Party. Dore reminds us that presidential candidate Barack Obama had certain progressive initiatives in his platform, but that these initiatives were consigned to a remote closet once he got into the White House.
While I wanted to reply to the above tweet from former AJ+ Newsbroke presenter Francesca Fiorentini, I wanted even more to avoid a bitter Twitter battle with her. (Yes, the Fox in Socks Tweetle Beetle allusion is intentional. Dr. Seuss has always been my primary literary influence.) Ian Parker's New Yorker piece on Glenn Greenwald is what you'd expect from this publication: lengthy, verbose, and even-handed. It includes a visit to Greenwald's home in Rio de Janeiro and catches him in domestic moments with his kids and dogs, but it is not a fluff piece. Despite the deep access, Parker brings to light quite a few negative traits in this profile, but it is not a hit piece either.
My impression of Greenwald, somewhat confirmed by the article, is that his rhetoric, writing, and presentational style have not changed much, if at all, in the nearly ten years I've been reading his work. He may have become more acerbic in recent years, as the former reality-based community of Democrats has become a McCarthyite star chamber, but he's still the same ol' Greenwald who introduced the world to Ed Snowden. The issue here is that Fiorentini has changed, along with a sizable chunk of the liberal US (perhaps including Parker). It's also that MSNBC has changed, and for the worse: Rachel Maddow no longer books Greenwald or several other progressive types who used to frequent her show, so he makes his case on Tucker Carlson's Fox News program instead.
It's less that Fiorentini or Parker or that sizable chunk has lurched to the right since the dawn of the smartphone era than that they have continually contracted the spectrum of permissible dialog and acceptable news sources. To them, if Greenwald's reasoning concludes that anti-Trump analysts on CNN or MSNBC or WaPo or NYT are all wet—if he has the audacity to point out that they have yet to produce convincing evidence that Vladimir Putin had his mitts all over our electoral machinery in 2016—then Greenwald has fallen from grace.
It saddens me to see Fiorentini evolving into a Democratic Party tool like her idol Samantha Bee. She may be cheering on that aforementioned progressive insurgency, and she may still advocate socialism like a majority of Millennials in the US, but she perceives the Democrats as the vehicle for those changes rather than "the place progressive ideas go to die." That doesn't mean that I've lost all respect for her, that she has become a Fauxcialist. We just disagree on that particular matter.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.